Blessings, Choice, daily practice, Gratitude, happiness, Inspiration, Uncategorized

My Happy Box

This is my Happiness Box. The plan is to take time on New Years day and remember the things that brought me joy the last year.  It has all kinds of events, moments, thoughts, big things, little things. Basically it is snapshot of the happiness in my life.

2016-09-03-08-07-05My friend is doing this also.  Same plan, filling her box with notes to look at New Years day.  But she has been in a dark place this last couple of months, and the Happiness Box was moved to the side. As dark times do, hers peaked and passed. And she was left to pick up the pieces and move ahead. But the box, still, was moved to the back.

Until one day we were doing something fun and I said “this goes in the Happiness Box. How is yours doing?” And she realized hers was forgotten. So she found it, and wrote a note. One note led to another. She remembered from the summer that brought her happiness. She started filling in the blanks, and life shifted a little bit for her. She started looking for happiness, and found it.

Today we were talking about this and I said “you forgot to be happy”. And that my friends, is the heart of the matter. How often do we forget to be happy?  We get wrapped up in the moment and forget that happiness is a choice too.

There are times in life where happiness is not to found. I have had those times, particularly around deaths. But other losses as well….divorce, foreclosure, job changes, empty nest, lost loves. There is a list of events that happened and I cannot pretend any of that goes in the Happiness Box.

But here is the thing, even within those dark moments there were small glimmers of happiness. Seeing a child laugh, a friends hug, a blue sky, a kind act and on and on. Those glimmers lead us home. Those glimmers are the “don’t you dare give up” support from the Universe. And we have to look for them. We have to court them. And then they come and then they stay.

I can visit the dark but I need to live in the light.  I need balance of seeing both in my life. Having some trouble, sadness or feeling lost teaches me to grow past that.  It teaches me to choose.  It makes me  remember and be grateful for the good in my life.

This is not a lollipop world where everything is wonderful. But having my Happiness Box grounds me to the virtues I want in my life.  It commits to seeking out that which gives me joy.  I physically name my joy and give gratitude.  It is a Spiritual Practice, and it is good.

So whether you make box, write in a journal, post it on social media or sing it to the world, celebrate everything that makes you happy. Because what you call into your life will appear and multiply.  So make that be your joys.

Be Happy

 

 

 

 

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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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Change, Daily Life, Gratitude, Inspiration, Love, Relationships, Spirit

Everything Changed, and I Don’t Have a Plan

That time of the year that brings out the best and worst in me.  Because as much as I am about light, joy, love, tucked away inside are pockets of sadness, fear and loneliness.  And holidays exacerbate that.  Those places of pain keep floating up.  They come up when I am alone, they come up through music, they come up when a harsh headline catches my eye, when I waken and see that I am alone.  I am fragile this time of year.

Perhaps it is autumn.  The very brilliance of nature displayed before my eyes every day.  And yet the earth is giving her last beauty before shutting down for the winter.  The days are shorter and home calls everyone sooner.  I miss living with a family.  I feel that more in the fall and winter.  My father’s favorite time of year was Fall.  He died Nov 6, 1997.  I miss him every day, but most especially right now.  My mother,  she received her cancer diagnosis the week after Thanksgiving 3 years ago. November is hard for me.

Everything has changed, and I don’t have a plan. All the ways I thought my life would go, this was not it. I never thought I would be alone so long. I have been divorced almost 20 years.  It was never my plan to stay single forever.  I have always been longing for that relationship that would enhance my life and take to the next level.  My fear is that I am running out of time.  I fear I will die without having ever been really loved.  I am not talking about family and friends. I know I am loved. But to have that sharing, loving, interpersonal relationship with one person, that is missing. It is like I go through the day and say nope not today. I go through the week, the month and the year, and say ‘not yet” keep waiting. Stay open, be available to what the Universe has in mind. But really this was not my plan.

I am in 50’s, my son is 36. I don’t have any grandchildren.  He gets to live exactly as he chooses, and I love him unconditionally. But this was not my plan.  By the time he decides to have children (if he does) I am afraid I will be too old for us to really fully enjoy each other.   I just thought there would be grandchildren in my life at some point.  It is another relationship that is missing from my life.

So I feel melancholy, wistful for the past, wishing the present was different.  I guess my biggest fear is that I am running out of time.  The months and years are passing, and I am getting older. And everything has changed, and I don’t have a plan. Do I just run with that?  Be okay with no plan, no goal, no agenda.

I am simply living my life everyday, as best I can. Is that enough?  Because right now I am kind of living on faith.  Faith that at some point all of this will make sense.  Faith that this path with all of it’s twists and turns. the sunny and dark spots is leading somewhere. Faith that somehow all my lessons and growth are steering toward that time in my life when I can say “yes, this was where the path was taking me, I am home” .

I did an online search to see if anyone else supported not having a goal or a plan.  This is the only thing  I found..

Effort within the mind further limits the mind, because effort implies struggle towards a goal and when you have a goal, a purpose, an end in view, you have placed a limit on the mind.”
― Bruce LeeTao of Jeet Kune Do

Everyone else thinks you need a goal, a plan, an agenda to move you forward in life.  I like the Bruce Lee one, I like not placing limits.  I want to be open to the Universe and whatever path It takes down.  But then, we are back to faith. I know things are going to change in my life.  I know at some point I will live somewhere else. I know my son will fall in love and have babies.  I know a new relationship will come in my life. I will make new friends, have new experiences, say goodbye to people, places…..  I don’t have a plan for of any this.  Is that okay?

In my faith, Centers for Spiritual Living, we recognize that we are God manifesting on earth.  That everything is God, everyone, every being, no exceptions.  We all walk through life made up of the same substance that God is. And we know that we work together with God to manifest the state of being we find ourselves in.  We understand it is God working through us to experience life on this plane and it is God’s great pleasure for us to live in joy.

And that is my faith.  And that is what carries me through the dark sides of my life.  I know experiencing these feelings, sharing them, living them helps me to grow and be more humble and compassionate. Talking about my fears brings them to the light. I don’t have to hide away and feel different and alone.

I know I have been blessed, so very blessed.  I grew up knowing love, I have been able to bear and love a child.  I have loved in many different ways, friends, lovers, pets, family, nature, God.  I am way ahead of so many people. And I know this, every single day.

But I am human and complex and my pain and fear is valid also. I don’t have to be homeless, battered, disabled or the many other states that people struggle through to have my feelings.  I get to have my feelings. I get to have my dark places.  I get to be lonely, I get to be wistful, but I don’t get to stay there.  I remember who I am and why I am on this path.  And when my step falters, I pause and feel my feelings,then I  take a deep breath, and say “This too, is God”

And so it is…….

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Daily Life, Inspiration, Relationships, Self

A Box of Darkness

box of darknessMy friend posted this today.  I have posted this sentiment on Facebook myself in the past.  I have had conversations around it. I guess its time to write about it.

A box of darkness, when I hear this, I think of my Mom.  My mom was really dark. She was angry, and sad, and bitter, and all closed up.  And yet she yearned for love, for connection.  It all goes back to her childhood and never feeling loved, wanted, accepted.  I know all of this because she told me, many times. She spoke of her abuse and I know she left much out in that area.  But I can put together the pieces.  It was not good.

So as grown woman having a relationship with my mom there were a lot of challenges. She lived 15 years after my dad died and our lives became more intertwined. As she grew older she isolated herself more, the anger, the bitterness grew.  I tried to take it on.  I tried to help her out of the dark place. I would suggest friends, activities, all kinds of things.  She would shut that down fast, always a reason to not partake.  We would spend time together but the quality suffered.  I finally accepted her terms letting her be., It was better for our relationship which I did not want to lose.

I could not  fill the void that my dad had left, no one could.  He stood between her and the world. I am not sure if he protected her, I think it was more he protected the world from her.  By the end of her life she had pretty isolated herself from her family and friends. She did not talk to her mom or her brother. The only ones left were myself, my son, my sister and her husband.  One by one mom shut everyone down. It was a big box of darkness.

So how can a box of darkness be a gift?   She trusted me, she loved me, she shared that scary part of herself knowing she was safe.  That is a gift. Knowing that someone can survive child abuse and move on to fiercely love her children is a gift. Because she gave me entry to her box of darkness I am more compassionate.  I can see that humans are fragile and yet incredibly strong.  I can see that even in the darkness there was beauty, there was song, there was laughter, there was love.

When I see darkness in someone I can handle that.  I am not afraid of it.  I don’t need them to hide it from me.  I am strong enough in my light to shine on your darkness. My mom taught me that.  Because if I could love her though all of that, I am good with loving you. That also, was a gift.

And I can see how very hard it is to share your darkness, to take that step.  We all have darkness. We all have those spots of anger, fear, sadness, shame.  That is our balance for the light.  How could you see the light without the dark to contrast.  My mom sharing her darkness makes me less afraid of my own.  I know I can survive the dark thoughts, the doubts, the demons.  I don’t have to feed them, but I don’t deny them either. I am a human female with all kinds of facets, I have to embrace that and love myself through it.

So yes,” someone once gave me a box of darkness and it took me years to understand that too was a gift.”. Perhaps more than light this gift brought me growth, understanding, compassion, and ultimately peace. There is no struggle to pretend,  I don’t have to hide my darkness.  But I don’t feed it either. Sometimes i am sad, scared, lonely. I look at the world and the horrible things humans do each other and I feel hopeless and angry. And it is okay to feel that. I know without a doubt even in the darkness there is Love, Light, Life, Peace, Power, Beauty and Joy.  And those are the things that I feed.

Thank you Mom, Namaste

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