Change, Choice, Courage, friendship, Growth, Relationships, Truth, Uncategorized

Having Hard Conversations

I am with a friend this week and a hard conversation comes up.  If you are in the US you know we having a lot of division regarding the killing of blacks by police. That is a stark statement, but that is what is happening. So people are lining up and taking sides. And we have peacemakers who say #lovematters or #alllivesmatter. But it does seem we called upon to choose a side. That is a problem for me. I know there is good and bad in each segment of the population. I can’t really choose to support one side over another.

But apparently my friend could, as she came down on the side of the police. And she made some racist statements and then ended it by saying “well, I am a bigot” in this offhand manner. I know I was supposed to laugh it off, I know I was supposed to ignore the statement. I know she expected me to support her or at least not call her out. Sigh.

These are the hard conversations, when it is your friend, your family, someone you want to have  a continued relationship with. It is easy online to stand up for what you believe. It is easy when you are in company of like minded people to stand up for what you believe. It is easy when you are disguised behind a keyboard to stand up for what you believe. It is hard when you are one on one with a friend and you have to say “well I am not a bigot, and this is why”

But I did it. If I am going to present myself as a person who does believe that all lives have value and that we have a problem with racism in our country, then I have to stand up and say that. Am I willing to risk being uncomfortable or offending a friend?  Are my beliefs worth that?  Yes. Am I willing to say I feel differently than you, I believe you are wrong? Well I guess I am.

speak the truth

So we had a conversation and I saw some of where she was coming from.  Her experience with a black person (beyond superficial) was not a good one. It was traumatic for her, and the police were her angels. And from that place she built a belief system on who is right and who is wrong. And the police came out on top.

I know what she went through was hard, and she struggles with it to this day. But I have a different experience. I have a close long term relationship with a black man . I have friends who are black. I am able to hear and see some of their struggles first hand. And I shared that with her. Maybe, just maybe, she saw some common humanity in all of our struggles. Maybe.

But this is what I know. My job is to speak my truth, even when it is uncomfortable. My job is to back up my thoughts with my words. Even when I don’t want to . It is not enough to stay quiet anymore. It is not enough to not “rock the boat”. That is how we got in this mess. It is not about being loud or forcing my ideas and beliefs on someone else.  I can speak respectfully, I can listen to the other side and I can learn from a different point of view.

But I will not be quiet anymore just to keep someone comfortable. I will speak my piece and call out racism, homophobia, misogyny or any other belief that keeps people down. If you are uncomfortable with that, I am not even sorry.  Because it is when we are uncomfortable we know we have work to do.

So speak up,  have those hard conversations. That is how we will make the changes we all want and need in our lives. Stand up for what you believe and do it with Love. Be willing to be the one who opens the conversations. Be Brave.

Namaste

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attachment, Change, Freedom, Growth, Inspiration, Lessons, Uncategorized

Don’t Settle for Less Than What Loves Me and Grows Me

It feels like I am ready to let go of some things: some people, some dreams, some ideas, some hopes, just let go. I know I cannot move forward while hanging on to what does not work. Whether a relationship, a friendship, a job, it is time to let go.

I can honor the past and the lessons without living in them. I can appreciate the times with people and not try to drag them into the present. The lesson I get every day is you must move forward. In some form or another that comes up every single day.

Quit trying to make outgrown ideas fit.  Quit trying to mold relationships into something they are not. Let go of the dream that is not working for me. Let go of the idea if I don’t hold onto to what I have now I will have nothing.  Be brave, step forward. Not just in a place where I am loved, but in places I am not.  When people show me where they stand, believe them and move on. Don’t settle for less than what loves me and grows me.

And it seems some things in my life lately have a new lesson around them.  Telling me loud and clear it is time to make a change.  I have started with baby steps. I have started saying no when I need to. I am trying to speak the truth in a friendship of long standing that has been unbalanced and unhealthy for me. I have let go of strings that kept me attached to a past romance when I was still longing for more.  Honestly, this scares me, what if I end up without my friends, without romance?

Sometimes I feel like I am called to walk alone and I really really don’t want to do that. I really want connection beyond the surface.  But the more life goes on and more I lay my head down alone every night, the dream dies a little. Still, I cannot settle. My heart, my soul calls out for something real, something beyond what I have known. I keep thinking if I clear the path that love, that experience will find its way to me. If I keep the path cluttered up with diversions and things outgrown how will the new come in?

And so I let go, a little more all the time. I watch myself become peeled down, stripped away, with less connection and a little adrift.  But I also feel free and ready.  I am trying to not push the river, but to let it flow. I am trying to let life find me and not have an agenda around that. I am trying to lean in and breathe. I am trying to be okay with not knowing, not designing, not manipulating the path, but just walking it.

Attachment is so hard. If I were to choose what my lesson in this life is, it has been letting go of attachments.  It has taken the deaths of my parents, my grandparents, loss of a home, pets, friendships, divorce to push me down this path. And those are the big ones.  When I struggle with letting go, I remember all these that I have survived. If I could survive the death of my dad and leaving a 20 year marriage, I can change jobs.  If I can watch my mom pass away and hand over the keys to my home, I can let go of a guy who doesn’t want me. If I can release my child into the world as a adult, if I can stand there and watch my dog pass away, I make another home if that is what is needed.  If I can sing my grandmother onto the other side, I can fucking do anything. Let me remember how strong I am, Let me only accept my greater good.  When the lesson appears, learn it, and let it go.

So here is to moving forward (again). I am more than sure I am not done with clinging to what has past but each time I let go I get stronger. Here is to living for today and welcoming the future.

Namaste

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attachment, Change, Daily Life, Freedom, Growth, Release

What’s in Your Vacuum?

When  a lesson is needed, it shows up. The trick is to see it. Because lessons,  they hide in the most unexpected areas.

Yesterday I am vacuuming.  My vacuum is less than 3 years old. And it is doing an adequate job, but I am struggling a little. Going over and over the same spot.  It was not picking up like it should. Whats wrong here vacuum?  So then I think, oh Sandy, when was the last time you dumped the canister. Yes, it full, very full.

How often do I clear out emotional trash, but not get rid of it?  I hide it, tucked away, just kind of hanging on to it. And then when something new comes up and I need to clear that, there is little room for movement.  Old wounds, old emotions are still cluttering up my mind and my heart.  I thought I cleared it, I thought I moved on, but maybe it is still in the vacuum canister.

As I am cleaning out the canister some of the dirt spilled on the kitchen floor.  And I am looking at that, almost looking to see if I need to save anything. Did an earring get in there, a penny? Really, let it go.  Honestly I decided months ago that it wasn’t worth keeping, why am I still sifting through it.

So I really let the dirt go. And then I thought, this is like my life. All the stuff I have processed again and again, but held onto, let it go.  Don’t save the dirt of my life to sift back through later. Make it disappear.  I am done looking backwards, I am done trying to make a different ending to something that is over. I am done trying to rewrite the stories.  I am done holding on to anger or pain. I am done trying to learn the same lesson multiple times. I am done.

And when I thought my vacuum was cleared there was a bunch debris up in another section (please don’t judge me).  So then I think, more hidden dirt.  And I clear that out, realizing that some stuff is really deep. It doesn’t want to leave. That even though it is dirt, it is my dirt, and can I really let go?

I think that our dirt can be really powerful. Overcoming an addiction, for instance, is painful, but moves us forward.  Letting relationships go when they are done (my big issue) is one of the biggest ways to grow. Overcoming fears, changing our minds, learning to trust,  loving ourselves, all of these things are started when we move our dirt around.

It is hard to grow when we are clogged up. For instance, if I have a fear of changing my housing, then I to deal with what is real today. But what comes up for me is “I am losing another home”. Remember when my house was foreclosed on…. remember how bad I felt, what a failure I felt like, how sad I was. None of that has anything to do with today, but holding on is keeping me stuck. Because instead of being optimistic about change or realistic about my circumstances, I slip back in past. I need to dump the dirt. I need to say “that was hard and painful, but it is done” I don’t have to carry those feeling into my current circumstance.

There are always lessons on the way.  There are always opportunities for growth.  And some of it will be painful and need to be looked at. And we need room for that.  A fresh clean vacuum. So in the memory box put your lessons, put your “well I’m not doing that again”. put your treasures, the things that helped you become the person you are. You will need those things.

But as for the dirt, clean out the vacuum, clear out the closet, clean out under the sink. Where ever you discarded your emotional trash, throw it away.  Make room for more.  Because more will come, that is life. Be ready, make room,  and then let it go..

Namaste

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Change, Community, Daily Life, kindness, Leadership

Shifting Consciousness, We Can Do This

We can change our world, one act, one thought at a time.  What we do and think and say and how we act, it matters. We can shift consciousness, and when enough of us do, we change not just our world, but the world at large.

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
Mahatma Gandhi

I saw this in action the other day. It was not how it started nor my intention, but this is how it played out:

I see a man standing in a parking lot entry holding a sign asking for help. I watch him for awhile, no one stops but he stands there smiling anyway. He was presentable, his family was in a car next to where he was standing. I rarely do this, but I was moved to find out his story.

So I went up and talked to him for awhile. I asked questions, tried to see if I could help beyond a few dollars. We talked about jobs and housing. He is afraid to go to Social Services for help, he thinks they will take his children. We talked a lot.

But here is what I noticed. No had stopped to help him before. While I was standing talking to him 4 cars stopped and gave him money. One man handed him $20. He looked shocked , amazed and grateful. So I guess my point is that we can shift consciousness by being kind. By my standing there talking to this young man, people were moved to help. He became a person, not a threat or a stranger. The power of kindness can change the world.

So, shift in consciousness….not just mine but in that moment in time other humans shifted and were moved to act. They saw something differently and changed their response.  I saw it on a bigger scale when we had a huge fire in our neighboring county. People stepped up and gave like I have never seen happen in our community before.  It took on a life of its own until they asked everyone to stop bringing donations, as they were overfull. Everyone gave what they could of their time, treasure or talent.  It was beautiful to watch. I was and still am moved beyond words.

So how you live your life, how I live my life makes a difference. People see what we do, and it becomes safe for them to be giving, to be kind, to be open.  When we open our hearts to the world it is a little scary. We become vulnerable. What if people laugh at us, or think we are foolish?  What if we look weak?  What if people take advantage of us?

But hey, what if kindness is the new strong?  What if being vulnerable is the bravest thing you can do? What if we move beyond caring what people think? How about we pave a new path and shift consciousness? We can do this, one parking lot, one community at a time.  People are doing it everywhere all the time. I want to join those people.  I want the consciousness to be one of love, safety and abundance. That starts with my belief for myself and spreads through my world.

So however you want your world to be, than be that. Feed that which serves you best. People are watching, some are just waiting for someone to make the move, to have the belief. And then it becomes safe for them. So we get to be the trailblazers and we follow in the footsteps of amazing people. Let their footsteps not dissipate, but deepen them. Of course  Ghandi said it best

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.

You, me, us, we can shift the consciousness around us. We can create the energy we want by our thoughts and our actions.  Start believing you can make a difference and watch how it unfolds. Work with the Universe to create a world of kindness and love. Others will follow, just as we are.  Together we truly can make a difference, one kind act a time.

Namaste

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Change, Choice, Daily Life, family, home, intention

Who Is In Control Here? Me or the World?

Who is in control here, me or the world? To some extent the world I live in has set the pace for my life. But really, I chose that. I could live differently.  Right now, I choose to have housing, medical insurance, a vehicle etc. I have to pay for that. So I am employed and that sets much of the tone of my life.  I am expected to show up and put in a days work, 5 days a week. And you know what, I am okay with that. But some people choose differently and maybe I should I look at making a different choice.

I am looking at housing these days (yes again) and wondering can I go even smaller?  Would I be comfortable? Do I really need all this stuff? Right now I pay for storage each month.  To store furniture I don’t have room for. I could almost let it all go, except my dad built this beautiful china cabinet and I could never replace that. Still, I saw this studio apartment for rent and thought, maybe? After all, how much room do I need?  It’s not me that needs the room, but my stuff.  I am attached to my stuff.

And why am I attached to my stuff?  It is not expensive stuff.  Probably the value of all my furnishings, pots and pans, lamps, rugs etc is under 2k, way under. But I look around and here is my history. My mom had that vase, my grandmother had this table. I remember how I struggled to pay off the living room furniture. This picture over my chair came from my moms house,  the clock came from my dad. Over and over, this is my collection of my life. And I am attached to it. I have let go of the people through death or relocation or just the rhythm of my life, but their fingerprints are all around me.

I have seen this over and over, when going through and clearing out someone’s house after they pass. Their memories are everywhere.  What meant nothing to me, had a whole story for them. Why did my grandmother have vials of her fingernails stuffed away in drawers?  We will never know the answer to that.  My moms things…. I knew the stories of much of what was visible. But the handkerchief pressed away in a book or the old worn out pair of shoes she did not let go of, those were her memories. And they left with her.

It is said we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. And yes we do. Sometimes in a way that is global, people fought for freedom, civil right and women’s rights. We would not be where we are without all those who came before us. But personally we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. Good or bad, they set the tenor of our lives, at least the beginning.  Some of us became very strong through adversity. Some of us became very strong because we were believed in. We all had family and started out somewhere. And we carry that with us.

But back to the beginning, who is in control here? Do I want to live by default or choice?  I have a history and that is what it is. I cannot rewrite it or change.  But I can choose to bring along with me that which makes my life better. Because it was not all pretty, none of ours is.  I can take my mom’s strength and recognize how hard she fought in a world that seemed unloving to her. I can leave behind her criticism and disapproval of me. I can see just because someone else says I am clumsy (for instance) does not make it so. I can see myself as graceful and make that my truth.

So everyday is a choice and my daily choices add up to my life. I can choose how I see myself and that translates to how I move through the world and how others see me. I set the tone for my day by intention. Each morning I can intend to have a good day, or a peaceful day, or a day I feel strong. I can intend every day to live my best life. I can intend daily to be kind, to be loving,  to be a person others feel safe with. I can intend every day to find joy. I can be open everyday to all the Good life has to bring. I can intend to see myself as beautiful and valuable. I can set all these intentions and more because I get to choose how I react to how my life unfolds.

And so do you. This is your day, you week, your life. Honor those whose shoulders you stand on, but stand on your own two feet. Make your own choices, live your best life. See yourself for the beautiful human you are and get out there and let your light shine.

Namaste

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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

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Change, Daily Life, Death, Growth, Healing, Inspiration

Loving Mom and Letting Go

My dear friends’ mother is close to leaving this life.  They have moved her to hospice where she will spend her last days.  He is 500 miles away and I can be of little help. I can send loving thoughts and words, I can give him space to move though this time that is filled with fear and also amazing gifts. But I cannot do it for him, this is his path.

Still,  it is weighing on my mind.  It brings up the stuff around my mom passing all over again. Wounds I thought were dormant open up.  Memories I have placed aside reappear. Tears that have been shed, are shed again. Do we, must we, keep feeling the pain over and over?  How do you heal? Maybe you don’t .

I guess I  have thought of healing as one and done. . Like when you heal from a cold or illness you are well and you are done with that process.  But cuts leave scars, some illnesses leave weakness.  Here is a timely and perfect example.  7 years ago we had big fires in our area of CA. The smoke was bad and for me, toxic.  It made me sick. Then the airs cleared and time passed. I recovered and was fine.  But ever since then when there are fires and the air is smoky I am easily affected by it. It bothers me way more than it ever did before the toxic smoke.  I have a weakness now, left from the first fire.

And I guess I have a weakness for people dying. I have experience with it.  I know how it feels.  And right now the mom experience is knocking back at my door. But here is what I know, I am stronger now.  The gaping wound left when she passed is smaller.  And opening of it is gentler. There is a lighter touch to the wound.  I can feel the pain and still breathe. And for that healing, I am grateful.

Its been over 3 years now and the memories of my mom have faded from the harshness of her last couple of years.  Now I look at the mom that was happy, who was loving and had a future in front of her. But still, I have the lessons of how life can change and bring unhappiness and bitterness if you allow it, or invite it.  And mom did that, I need to be honest about that, so I do not fall into the traps that she did. If her life is to show me some me lessons, well, I need to see them.

Back to my friend.  I am so sorry your mama is leaving you. I am so sorry for your pain right now and your loss. I am sorry you have to see your father and your family lost and sad.  I am sorry that this moment is upon you.  But I am not sorry you have had a mother you grieve to lose.  I am not sorry you get to learn compassion. I am not sorry you will have growth. I am not sorry you will learn more about your amazing strength. I am not sorry you will experience the love and compassion of friends and family. I am not sorry you are living life and seeing complete cycle. I am not sorry, my dear, that life has graced you with this most important lesson of loving and letting go.  May Peace and Love cover your every breath.

Namaste

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