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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Courage, Daily Life, Gratitude, Honesty, Love, Self, Soul, Spirit

In the Silence I Find Myself

It is in the silent spot I can hear myself think. The sweet sweet sound of silence is so hard to find these days.  I know when I awaken I have a moment of silence.  I may hear the sounds of nature, perhaps rain or a bird. or the occasional car go by, but mostly it is a silent moment to start the day.

What I know is in those quiet moments what is most weighing on my mind appears.  If I wake up and something comes immediately to mind I know it is something I need to take care of.  It can be anything from a person, to finances, maybe something broken, anything. If it finds me in the silence I have to deal with it.  I can hide behind noise during the day.  I can block out the problems with music, tv, voices, the sounds of life.  But I cannot block out the silence.  And in the silence my soul speaks.

The best days are like today.  I awaken and hear the silence, no words coming from my mind. I let the morning come to me, unfold around me. I have a moment for gratitude, I have a moment for peace.  I embrace the quiet of the morning, I drink it in. Gradually the “have to’s” arrive, but nothing weighing. I have to pee, the coffee smells good, life is calling. And I let the silence go.

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.

I need this in my life.  I am calmest and most at peace when I have silence commonly in my life.  I can find it outdoors, walking the trails, by the lake.  I can hear the wind, the call of the geese and singing of the birds.  I hear a rustle in the trees but these sounds magnify the silence and make it beautiful. But mostly I can hear my thoughts, my prayers, my problems, my answers, and my dreams.

It is in the silence I find the motivation to go on.  To engage with the world. I can come into the world, and it’s noise, whole and calm,  maneuvering through all it needs of me.  The other day I was in line just ordering a sandwich and simultaneously 3 people were talking to me.  All about different topics. It was a little whirlwind of words.  And so I stood there for a just a second, and then said “I can only have one conversation at a time”. Took a breathe and handled them, one at a time. My point is I came into that place whole and centered.  And because I have those resources within me I can handle the chaos.

I find that the world is noisy, loud, demanding.  Cell phones, Ipods, traffic, horns, voices, canned music, tv, office machinery, everything is designed to grab us and take our attention. And people, we have so many people now.  I live in a small town and sometimes feel the crowding of people all in the same space.  When I am in the city, at some point, I am just overwhelmed with the amount of people and the noise.  I need to be back home.

So in the middle of all this how do we hold our center?  Because life is going to happen and we better be ready.  I have to go to work,. I have people I love needing my attention.  I have friends who contact me, want to talk, connect. I like social media, I want to engage.  I like music, tv and the radio.  I want to have all of these in my life. They keep me juicy, they keep me engaged and alive. And yet, it can be really draining and overwhelming.

I could meditate every day, but I don’t.  I have not found that sweet spot where it fits naturally into my life.  So I search for those natural moments of calm and peace and silence.  I find it when I awaken, and I listen to my thoughts.  I find it when I come home before the evening takes over, and I breathe for a minute.  I find it when I walk in nature,  hearing the sounds of Spirit through the trees and in the flapping of the birds wings. I  find answers in the silence.  I find it in those pauses of conversation, those comfortable silences.  I find it driving when I can get lost in my thoughts.  I find it exercising, when I can use the music as a background and let my mind rest. And sometimes silence comes as a gift.  When I am worn out, when things are difficult, when I am scared or lonely.  A moment of silence blesses me and carries me.  It lets me rest, it gives me peace, it fills my soul.

So for the silent moments that come your way, treasure them.  They are a gift that can soothe your soul, ease your mind and set you free.

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Change, Courage, Daily Life, Honesty, Inspiration, Relationships, Self, The Past

Owning My Past

So I had an interesting experience a couple of weeks ago.  I was out visiting some friends and there was a person there who said he thought he knew me.  And as the evening ended I asked if he remembered where we had met. And he was cagey about it.  I said “in high school? college?” The way he looked at me it was like he thought he had secret knowledge about me, something I wouldn’t want shared. And he wouldn’t tell me.  So I moved on, said goodnight and left.

But here is the deal, I don’t care what you know, or even what you think you know.  Because I know it all, and I own it. You can’t say anything about me that is going to shock me.  Because I lived it. And I am not ashamed of anything. Was it my marriage?  I was not the best wife, I admit that. I was not anywhere near ready to be a wife.  Was it drugs?  I did my share of drugs, maybe your share too.  Was it sex?  I have slept with a lot of men, all of them willing. I am a sexual being and not ashamed of that.  What else?  Was I drunk?  Oh my gosh, I have spent nights on the bathroom floor. What else, was I rude, did I act out? Maybe, probably, I am no angel. Was it the  man I dated who was in prison?  It didn’t last long after he came out, it was an interesting 6 months, no shame here.  I learned a lot about what I don’t want.

My point is this, my past brought me to this point. I have learned lessons along the way, some the hard way. Many the hard way. But it is my past and you cannot use it against me.  I simply do not  care anymore to hide or pretend. I have lived too long and seen every single person I know fall down from time to time, and that includes me.  There is no shame in that. People will try to control us by presenting that they will “keep our secret”. The way out of that is to  graceown who we are, not have secrets and be willing to share our story. Or at least not hide it.

So Mr. whoever you were, you have nothing on me.  You cannot control or make me feel uncomfortable because you “know” something. I know everything, and I will share it all if circumstances warrant it.  If anyone wants to judge me by my past I probably don’t want to spend much time or energy on that person. No more games, no more pretending, no more hiding who I am. I am proud of who I am even if I am not proud of some of the missteps I have made.  Some of things that brought me to this point I would not do again. But I refuse to lie, pretend or be ashamed. Each step along the way has been a lesson and brought me to this point.  Shame holds us down, fear of discovery holds us down, guilt holds us down. Whatever happened, happened, It is done, learn and move forward.

I  want to know people that have a past to share.  Those are the ones with the stories that resonate with me. Show me your scars, show me how you survived, show me how strong you are.  Let’s not deny how we came to be here, strong, beautiful, survivors. Let’s own that and never ever let anyone hold how we came to be here over us. Never let anyone make us feel small or less than. Every step of the way, we walked this, it is ours, this is our story. And it is beautiful and valuable and we have something to share. So go out there and live your life, every piece of it has brought you to the place you are, and there is no shame in that. Love yourself, all of it, the good, the bad and the ugly, because truly,  It is all beautiful, it made you who you are.

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