Change, Gratitude, Inspiration, Love, New Year, Relationships, Self, Soul, Spirit

Intentions, 2015 and Beyond

So I want to share my intentions for 2015 with you. I believe that stating this out loud to the world gives my intentions even more strength.  So this is an indulgent post, It is all about me.  But maybe something will come up for you that says I want that too.  Because you can have whatever you believe you can have.  And that is the key. The knowingness, the belief, that these things belong to you.  Whatever is yours will appear. So here are mine, for now: This or something better……..

2015 Intention 

In looking at my life I realize there are ways my life can be better, ways I can be happier and have a fuller life.  In recognizing that, I also recognize my role in manifesting these changes in my life.  I have prayed and treated around these ideas.  I am ready to acknowledge and set my intentions for 2015 and beyond.

I want a life that is full of love and community without limiting my need to recharge with time to myself.  I am a loving, caring person and I want that returned to me by those I come in contact with.  I accept nothing less than balance and equality in my relationships. I welcome friends, family and lovers into my life while still keeping my self respect.  I will no longer chase anyone or allow anyone to make me feel my life is secondary. My intention is to live lovingly, happily and fully with those who are likeminded.  Equally, my intention is to allow those I love to walk their own paths with my support, without any fear of loss of love from them.  My intention is to not cling so tightly, but to have mutually respectful and loving relationships.

My intention is to welcome financial abundance in my life.  I recognize that I have been willing to live with lack and I release the belief that this is natural in my life.  I know that the Universe has an never ending supply of whatever I need and I need money. I am now living with the intention that my finances will be multiplied in a way that will enhance my life and the lives of my community.  I see this, I believe this and I welcome this.

My intention is to  live in a healthy body.  This includes living at a healthy weight.  I no longer need to fill any lack in my life with food.  My intention is to wake each day in with a healthy mind and a healthy body.  I see myself growing healthier each day and as a result of clear minded thinking I will reach a healthy weight. I release any need to fill voids with food or drink. I accept and love my body as it is and I am willing for my body to grow healthier.  My intention is to move through my life with grace and ease no longer fighting a battle with my weight.

My intention is to welcome a loving committed relationship into my life.  My life will become enhanced by a singular love which will expand my life.  I release any fear around commitment or settling. I know the love coming into my life will only make my life better and more joyful.  I am ready for this, I no longer need to walk alone. I know a loving relationship is the next step in my growth and I welcome this.  This relationship will not take away from anything and I will not have to “give up” anything that is valuable or important in my life. I have an open honest heart and I welcome the same. My intention is to receive love and commitment in a way that multiplies my joys.  My intention is to say yes to Love.

2015 Treatment 

I know that there is one God, one Designer of the universe and of my life.  I know that God is in everything I do, every thought, every breath.  There is no part of me or my life where God is not.  And knowing this Truth, I know that my stated intentions are the word of God. I know each and every thought of mind and desire of my heart is supported by the Beloved.  And knowing this, I know my life is good.  I know my life will only grow, will only get better and is fully supported by the Universe. I am so grateful for this knowledge.  I am  grateful for light in me that works with God to co create my life.  And as I know this for myself, I know this for everyone.  Everyone is connected, everyone is loved, everyone is supported.  And feeling this deep connection I release my words, my thoughts, my desires into the Mind of God, knowing as I do, the work is already done.  And I let it be so, and so it is.

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Change, Daily Life, friendship, Gratitude, Honesty, Inspiration, Love, New Year, Self, Soul, Spirit, The Past

Living With Intention

So we have reached a new year.  However we got here, in whatever state we have arrived, we made it to 2015.  And there is a lot of energy around that.  Happens every year right?  Even for those us (me) who do not make resolutions it is hard to not see this as a fresh start.  This is the year I am going to ….. fill in the blank.  It is different for everyone. We are always reaching for something or someone to jump start us.  Looking outward instead of inward. And so each year those resolutions fade away and our real life steps up.

Resolutions work when they come from our soul.  When we can look inside and have a knowing of a need for change. I was cleaning out my computer last week.  Getting rid of old files and I came across something I wrote in 2010.  It was “My 2010 Intention”. Wow, what an interesting read.  I had forgotten all about it. And what I know is that my life has followed the path of those intentions.  Let’s take romance:

” I am ready to receive the gift of love, knowing it may be fleeting or transitional..  I do not expect or even want forever.  Forever seems way too big at this point.  But I want now, and I deserve that, and I am making room and going for it.”

That pretty much sums up the romantic adventures I have been on.  I said it out loud, I do not want forever. And yes, that is what I received.  But now, 5 years later, I can feel the shift in my soul and I do want forever. I have to set that intention.

How about how Spirit worked out?  I studied for years with a teacher who took me down paths of Shamanism,  Spiritual healings,  Mind, Body and Spirit connections. working with the Sacred Wheel.   It opened a whole new world for me and I am forever grateful for that, those lessons still serve me well.  But at some point I felt it was not my true path, and I was lost. My 2010 intention spoke about that:

“I need to find a spiritual balance in my life.  I ask for a teacher to arrive.  The student is ready.  Great Spirit, help me to keep my eyes open and see the gifts you are giving me.  I feel a shift in my body, in my mind, I am ready, show me the way. ”

And oh my gosh, did I find that.  I not only found a spiritual teacher, but a spiritual teaching that has filled me beyond  anything I expected.  It fits so very well into who I am  I walked in 5 years ago and found my place.  I know that this teaching has made my life better. Of all my intentions this grounded me the most.

I am giving a couple of examples but there was more to it.  About being more present, feeling worthy, new friendships, letting my light shine. All of this has come to pass in some way.  So it was really interesting for me to take a step back in time and then see how all of that has manifested in my life.  Some good, some challenging, but all valid and important.

Because the last 5 years have not been a piece of cake for me. I let go of so much.  From deaths, to lifestyles, to dreams, to friends, to my home, my pets.  If I looked at all this without love, without seeing the gifts, it could be very depressing.  None of that has been easy, and at times I was less than graceful about letting go. But always, even in the midst I knew that this too is God, and here lies a lesson.

And the gifts of the last 5 years.  I cannot even count the amazing people that have walked into my life.  Some fleeting, some forever, all have touched me and helped me on my path.  I am so blessed.  I have more freedom, that came from letting go.  I am confident, I no longer ever wonder if I am worthy. I am absolutely worthy. Do I let my light shine? Usually it lights up without me even trying.  Sometimes I keep it low because I need the light for myself. I have learned to take care of myself and love myself.

So I stand here at the door of a new year, looking ahead to the next 5 years and what will come my way.  I need to set some new intentions.  Because another part of rereading those the 2010 intentions is that most of them have come to fruition and I can intend for more, more of what is needed in my 2015 life.  2010 no longer fits me, I have outgrown it, how wonderful is that?

“Intention is one of the most powerful forces there is. What you mean when you do a thing will always determine the outcome. The law creates the world.”
Brenna Yovanoff, The Replacement

Intention works better for me than resolution. Intention is something I work with, it is fluid.  It is a combination of my mind and my actions working together to manifest what I want to create in my life. For some reason resolution feels a little limiting, not fluid.  Life is going to take many paths during the next few years  but if we can hold our intention we can see our way through everything.  The intentions we have set support the lessons sent our way.  The path is not always easy, but it is always good.

So I am going to spend the next few days looking at what I want in my life.  How do I want my life to appear? What is working? What is not working?  What blocks need to be removed?  Some things really jump out at me, but I want to give them time to ferment.  Because however I set my intentions, that is what I am going to have, at least until I have outgrown them and need to reset.

And I kind of want to stay with the 5 year plan. It is accidental that it worked out that way, but really nothing is accidental.  1 year is fast, it is hard to get a perspective from 1 year.  But 5 years, it is a little lifetime.  If I had just looked at the last year I would not really have seen the bigger picture.  How I have arrived here in this moment.

So it is a brand new baby year. And we can decide what we want.  Actually we don’t have to wait for a new year, a new week, a new anything.  We can make a change, a decision, an intention at any time. The Universe does not really care that the date changed.  But we do have a new year, and it is a good time to look back and to look forward.  I encourage you to set some intentions.  To look at your life and decide where you need to grow, what you need to bring in, what you need to let go of.  What is working for you?  What is holding you back.  Write it down, speak from your heart. No one ever has to read it, this is about you and your life.  You are the designer.

I am telling you this, if you do not state what you want and need in your life you will be living by default.  Stuff is always going to show up, make sure it is there by your desires.The universe will respond to your thoughts, whether or not they are conscious thoughts. .  Do not live unconsciously, be awake and aware.  Invite the good into your life. Make it known.  As Rumi says:

“What you seek is seeking you.”

Because the Universe will respond to your spoken and unspoken words.  Make them the words of your heart, of your soul.  Create the life you want.  This is our moment, this is our time. Don’t live by default, make your words, your thoughts and your desires known.  And live your best life.

May the next year bring you gentle lessons to take you to the life you intend to live.

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

Each Day is a Blessing

Yesterday I was blessed with a day I was not sure would ever come again. For years my sister and I have spent a day during the holiday season going out in the community and taking part in all it has to offer. Craft sales, bazaars, trolley rides, music, lights, truck parade. It has been “our” day. And it so easily could have been lost. For us, we had a real crisis visit us late last summer.  I watched her struggle to live, to talk, to walk, to come home, to understand what had happened, to rebuild her life, to regain joy, trust in the future and her foothold in the world. And none of us knew then, or even know now, where all of this eventually will end up.

But this is what I know today, yesterday I was blessed.  I spent the day in joy, i2014-12-06 18.02.07n love, in peace, in laughter, in song, In happiness. Here we are last night at the lighted truck parade (she is the blonde), a moment we were not   guaranteed to ever have again. Because there are no guarantees, and I really get that now.                                                                                                                                                                                        We have this moment, this day, right now as it is.  Do not let it slip by without some appreciation, some thankfulness.  It is the small things we will miss when life takes a different road.  The voice, the sound of laughter, the sharing of “our song”, someone saying “mom, or dad”. The shared meals, the easiness of simply loving someone and sharing life.

The lesson that comes up for me over and over is be grateful for today. Be grateful for this moment. Be grateful for the simple things.  Wake up and say “Thank you for today”.  Show compassion, people are struggling with hidden pain, sorrow and fear.  We are all human, we come from the same Stuff.  It is easy to give someone a smile, maybe that smile can change their day.  Maybe it is what they need to not give up. Be kind, show how much I care.  Be loving, don’t pass up the chance to give a hug or say I love you.

One thing I knew when my sister was in the hospital was that she knew how much she was loved by me. If the worst had happened I would not have had regrets on our relationship. But I can’t say that about everyone.  It is easy to get get caught up in the day, the week, or month.  Time goes by really fast so make each day, each moment count.  Reach out, don’t let people you love slip away.  In today’s world it easy to connect.  Yes, I would rather hear my son’s voice and feel his hug, but a text from him that says “I love you” feels so darn good. We have no excuse to be disconnected.  All the modern technology makes it easy.

So my yesterday was a gift. But so is today.  I cannot sit in yesterday, whether it was amazing or trying, it is over and the lesson mine to keep.  So I take that lesson and I move in today, with all of its unknown.  I have no idea where the day will take me.  It could a normal day to be grateful for, there could be unknown adventures and lessons waiting me.  It is important to treasure it and it all it brings. Be they lessons, delights, simple pleasures or adventures, the day awaits.  I will not waste it, because this I know, Time is precious, life is precious, I am precious and the Universe is ready, willing and available for me to join in and dance.

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Change, Daily Life, friendship, Gratitude, Inspiration, Love, Relationships, Self

We Have to Love What Is

We have to love what is.  We have to. I  will say it again, We have to love what is.  If we want to be happy, if we want to have joy, if we want to have peace, we have to love what is. We awaken each day and are presented with our life.  We get to choose how we spend that day.  Because the day is, what the day is. Our lives have taken us down many paths, we have wandered through people, places, events, circumstances and they have all brought us to this moment. And we waken to it. And it is ours to live it as we choose.

And where we go from there is what defines us.  Here is what is for sure, life is going to change. It could be subtle and slow, it could be overnight, it could come in like tidal wave. And sometimes the change is hard to love, even impossible in that moment.  But there always another piece of life to love even in the midst of grief or disaster.

For instance, when I lost my home that was hard to love. I had to watch my son move out on his own under less than ideal circumstances. I had to hand over keys to a home I had married in, raised my child, and pretty much grown up there. It was my grandmothers house before me.  So how to love anything about that?  Well I get to see my son grow into a man.  He takes care of himself, supports himself, he is building his life.  He was stuck before, now he is growing. For myself, that house was draining me.  It was too much for me, too large. I did not have money to keep it up as it needed. The house took all of my energy and money. So for me, my life is easier. I have much less responsibilities and headaches. I have time now to look around and see what else I want in my life.  I feel less stressed, less burdened and way more free. So everything has shifted, I know now that was a gift of growth for my son and myself.

But back to today and loving what is.  If we close our eyes to the joys of today because we are missing the past or uncomfortable with the present we cheat ourselves.   We have to live in today, and we have to love today, just as it is.  Say yesterday was this beautiful blue sky day you spent in joy.  That is awesome, but it is done. Now today, the sky is grey. Love the grey day.  Don’t miss today because we are looking backwards. Take the joys of yesterday, and the sorrows, and the lessons and move into today and love what is.  This is our gift of today, there is always something to love.

“You don’t get to vote on what is.
Have you noticed?”

~ Byron Katie ~

Life is going to happen, it is going to take weird and confusing twists and turns.  As I said in my last post I did not think my life was headed in this direction. I can sit in the past and be sad that people I love have passed on, or I can celebrate that so many people I love are here and welcome my love. I can mourn lost relationships and have a pity party, or I can be ready  for  the next amazing relationship  headed my way and be happy that I am open for that.  I can be sad that my sister has been through hell physically. or I can be so very amazed at how strong she is and inspired by her fight to have her life back.  I can feel lonely that my friend moved away, or I can love her so much that I am happy she is happy. I can accept that in today’s world distance means nothing, and that the love does not change.   I can look around and see all the amazing people at my fingertips, friends and family that I can reach out and hug. They are here today, Love what is.  I can feel a longing for a time when I lived with my son, his girlfriend and our dogs.  It was a perfect moment and a gift. Or I can see that he is stronger, smarter, more confident and that she is in a loving relationships and so very happy. And they both still love me and want me in their lives. How about I  be happy with that? How about I love what is.

My life is not perfect, but I am damn well going to love it anyway.  I am going to love what I have today, I going to love whatever is coming my way. I am going to enjoy each piece, each step of the journey, each lesson, each joy, every gift.  Because I don’t want to waste my days, I want them to spent in love and joy and peace and laughter. I know that is a tall order,. I know I will trip up and that is fine, I will love that part also. And then I will stand up and remember who I am and why I am here. And that is to be Love

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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, Gratitude, Inspiration, Relationships, Self, Spirit

What am I Spending my Time On?

How are you spending your time? How am I spending my time? I have been learning lessons along the way from sister while she goes through her rehabilitation to regain her life. I am her greatest supporter and cheerleader.  I also watch her carefully for bumps in the road that she might not see coming. She is in the thick of it and I am outside so I have a different perspective. And what I know is her resources, both physical and mental, are limited. And how she uses her resources (energy, time, thoughts, habits) are going to determine the quality of her life to come.

So I say to her ” I know you are not hungry, but when you do eat make sure the food is healthy and good for you.”  ” I know you get tired, so spend your time on things that feed your soul, that make you happy.”  ” I know your mind can only absorb so much right now, so don’t take in information that will not help you heal and recover”.  And we work on that, making sure she uses her resources in a way that will support her recovery.

We all need to do this. I need to do this.  I have been down this road myself but my sister has reminded how important it is. How am I spending my time, and what am spending it on?  Does it make life better, does it make me happier, have more joy, more love, more peace, more growth?  And if does not, why am I doing it?  I don’t have to be in crisis to spend my time wisely and mindfully.

I know I have to go to work everyday to support myself.  I know that every day at work is not awesome. But I can still be awesome.  I don’t have to let my surroundings define me. It is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of stress and gossip that pervade my work place. But that is not me, and I can have a boundary around that.  And I actually do. Occasionally I slip into it. But I have to tell you I slip out it pretty fast.  I know that is not who I am. I know my basic purpose for being at work is financial. It enables me to live my life freely and without obligation.  But beyond I also know my purpose where ever I am is to be a loving presence. So yes, even though I spend 40 hours a week in an office and all that goes with that, it is my choice and a decision I have freely made.  I do not let my workplace define me.

So beyond the work week everything is my choice. I always can say yes or no. But I also know if something shows up in my life on some level I have invited that. Even if it is not comfortable or pretty or easy, it is still my lesson.  I can learn it now or it will just come back later.  The older I am the more I take the lesson now. Why not, I have to learn it to move forward.

And the older I am the more I know what I do not want in my life. I don’t want drama, I don’t want gossip, I don’t want negativity, I don’t want anger, I don’t want to be around people that will use me, I don’t want hatred.  And I don’t have much of that around me.  I see it, I read about it, I overhear it, but it does not come into my space very much. And I think that is because I have worked hard for the last few years on defining exactly what I do want in my life and spending my time watering those seeds.

So my life is good, I spend time making sure it stays that way. I spend time on things that feed my soul. I read inspirational writings, I spend time in nature, I spend time at church, I spend time with those I love, I spend time in prayer, I spend time in music,  I spend time in creating a safe haven to come home to. I spend time in my community. I make sure my family and friends know I love them.  I listen to them, I share with them. I also spend time on junk tv and on dirty jokes with my girlfriends. I spend time going to lunch or dinner, enjoying what world has to offer. I spend as much time as I can in laughter. I spend time taking photos of whatever moves my soul. I spend my time moving my body whether exercise, sex or a walk in nature. I enjoy my body, I feed it. I let it sing, I let dance, I let it live.

And that is what I spend my time on. And each of those things are choices I make day in and day out. I choose to spend my time on things that feed my soul.  I hope you do too. Life is fast and can change on a dime.  Don’t waste your minutes because they become your hours, and that becomes your life. Everyday you get to choose where you spend your time.

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Daily Life, Self, Spirit

Everyone is Beautiful (when you look with love)

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. – Helen Keller

I am at a dinner a couple of weeks ago and my friend leans over and says “look at Mary, she is so beautiful tonight”. And she was. And I looked around again and there were all of these beautiful people,. The light was shining through them.  So I say to my friend ” I think the more we love people, they more beautiful they become”

That’s it, it is love, compassion, sharing, bonding, seeing the light in someone, It is not about mainstream beauty.  I have to tell you we are not necessarily beautiful people.  Take us apart piece by piece, we are regular humans, Someone has a big nose, someone has a crooked mouth, bad skin, the list goes on. Does not matter, they are beautiful to me when I look with loving eyes.

Take my son, he is not tall, dark and handsome, the society requirements for beauty in a man.  He is so beautiful to me. When I see him love fills my heart.  I only see this beautiful person who I love. I see his smile, I see his intelligence, I see his struggle to make in this world and still believe that life is good,  I see the love and respect he gives me and he is so fucking beautiful to me. His friends know his beauty, his family knows this, those that love him know this.

I guess beauty has changed for me, evolved.  I look at my sister, in her 50’s, lines, scars, some gray, life has left a mark on her but when she smiles or laughs, or touches me lovingly she is oh my gosh, so beautiful. My friends, when their faces light to see me, they are beautiful.  When someone shares their story and lessons with me they are beautiful. When I see someone overcome a challenge they are beautiful.  When I see that  the light of love fills someones heart, they are beautiful. When joy fills someone, and a smile splits their face open, they are beautiful. Even when tragedy hits, and the tears flow, they are beautiful in their honesty and their humanity.

I look at myself, I have lines in my face, I sag in places, my hair would be gray if I did not dye it. I have scars, my hands show the time I have spent here. Life, also, has left it’s mark on me, and I am more beautiful than I ever have been. And that is because now I look at myself with love.  I appreciate all I have been through.  Those struggles have made me strong,have made me loving.  Those lines I have are born from living life, from worrying about people I love, from thinking a new thought and from smiling and laughing, And I have earned every single one of them. I am done picking myself apart,  because if I only see beauty when I look with love, then it must be the same for you.  And If you are not looking at me with love, then that is your work to do, not mine.

Today in my world it is a beautiful blue sky day and I am going to enjoy every minute of it.  Autumn is here and the changing colors are brilliant, the air is crisp and the world is calling me to come out and play in it beauty.  But even in the dead of winter we can find beauty, in the rain slicked streets, children splashing in the puddle, the frost from our breath as we hurry home to warmth.  The purity of the snow, the fog settling in.  As long as we live from the heart and keep our eyes open we will find beauty in every step of our day.

Have a beautiful day

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Daily Life, Inspiration, Relationships, Self

A Little on Forgiveness

Forgiveness, if that is not key to living a beautiful life I don’t know what is.  For me, growing up, forgiveness always came from others.  I looked for forgiveness from others.  I was taught that way.  So whatever I did wrong it could not be made right until someone forgave me for it.  Forgiving myself was never mentioned.  And in turn, I could forgive others for whatever they did.  Say “I am sorry”, “Its okay, I forgive you”, how many times did we hear those things?  And I am not faulting my parents, they doing their best to raise a good girl. Basing my sense of self on whether someone did or did not forgive me gave away  my autonomy.  Of course when raising a “good girl” that may have been a goal.

But now I am grown and everything I knew when I was young had to be looked again.

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

-Buddha

Forgiving someone, in the traditional “I forgive you” sense,  holds a certain power over the person.  It is a control issue,  Without someone’s forgiveness a wrong I have done is held over my head.  I cannot move on, because they don’t forgive me, they are still mad.  It is like holding a little piece of me hostage.  Same if I am holding out on forgiveness for someone else.  I am still mad at you, you can’t be happy.  I need you to feel bad until I am done being mad, and then I will forgive you.  Like I get to decide when you can be happy.  We see this all the time in relationships of all kinds.

It’s time to let those games go. That takes forgiveness and warps its true beauty and intent. Over and over these past years I have seen how forgiving is really about setting myself free. Its never really about the other person. I think the first time it really came home to me was in a relationship that had blown up.  You know, he done me wrong. And I was mad, for a long time. And I suffered.  And somehow in my little brain I thought he was suffering too.  I was mad at him, I did not forgive him, he must be miserable.  And then one day I ran into him, and he was fine. Not miserable, not suffering, fine. And I realized he did not need  my forgiveness to move forward.  I was the only one walking around with anger and hurt, holding on to those uncomfortable feelings.  Now whether he forgave himself, or simply never thought he was wrong, I don’t know. But he moved forward to live happy.  So I had to look at that.

Now over and over I have learned how forgiving really releases me from the situation.  Its not about condoning bad behavior.  Its not about saying it is okay.  We never have to accept that for ourselves or anyone. It is about not holding on to the anger that only poisons us. What do I  want in my body?  How do i want to feel?  I get to decide that.  Because really, if I am mad at you and holding on to that then I am the only one effected by my thoughts and feelings.  If you truly forgive yourself for your part, you do not need my forgiveness.  And when I can forgive myself for my wrongs, I am free.

A CSL minister whose name escapes me said “If I see you and I do not smile, I have work to do”

Another friend said just the other day “when I wake in the morning I think, who do I have to forgive today”.

This is all about setting ourselves free.  Free from holding on to unpleasant, uncomfortable and unhealthy feelings. Free from the false belief that we can (or need) to control others by bestowing or withholding our forgiveness.  It is hard enough to move through all of these thought and emotions that make up our lives without taking on someone else’s.

So what do you think? What anger can you let go of so your life can move forward.  Where can you forgive to free yourself?  It is never about them, it is always about you.  Remember that, they will move forward and your forgiveness it not needed for them, but it is needed for you.  Let us live happy, let us live free, let us forgive.

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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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Daily Life, Relationships, Self

Looking in the Mirrors

A new person has appeared in my life and he is bringing up sorts of mirrors for me.  This is a work situation and I have no control over how much time I have to spend around him. Its been about 6 weeks now and it is not good.  I could go on and on about him and his irritants and faults, which are real, but is not really about him is it?  So lets leave him out of this.

I don’t like who I am around him.  I tried for weeks to blame him. And to be honest and fair to myself a lot of what I am feeling is really valid.  He lies, he manipulates, he evades, I don’t have much respect for his lifestyle.  All of this is true. But really who cares, he will be gone from my life at some point, that is a given.

For whatever reason the Universe has placed him on my path.  So there must a lesson here.  Just realizing and accepting that is freeing for me. I don’t have to fix him or the situation, that is not my responsibility.  But I can learn. I can look at myself through what he shows me.  He is a mirror for me.  I can figure why he triggers such a bitch response from me.  Because I am cutting him no slack, none.  And at this point I am hyper aware of any missteps from him and I respond quickly and without mercy. I am mean. And that is not really me.

So what is this? I know a huge part of it is my response to a male trying to come in and manipulate and control me.  I do not want to work it out, I do not want to come to an understanding. I do not want to compromise, I want to win. This keeps coming up for me.  I have to deal with this.  And now the Universe has put it in my face 40 hours a week.

I like men, I love men.  One of my best friends is a man.  My lover is a man.  I am comfortable with men, I enjoy them. But as soon as I feel disrespected or manipulated or controlled the claws come out. And with women I try harder, I am softer, I look at both sides.

But this harshness in me, I don’t like it. It’s not healthy.  How can I fix this? Well I can recognize it. I can step back and slow my reactions. I can see he is just a mirror for me to work on my issues.  I don’t want to spend my time in bitterness or anger.  I have to learn to separate my sense of self from how he treats me.  I have to give up control of the situation.  If he fools everyone for awhile, well I guess that is their mirror.  I am done reacting like a puppet and he pulling the strings, taking way too much of my energy.

I don’t have to fix anyone but me.  Actually I can’t, your road is your road and my path is my own. So next week when I go to work I will try so hard to have a different mindset.  To not see him as anything but a mirror for me to learn and grow from. Perhaps I can come out of this situation with a better sense of how to handle myself when a man tries to control me.  To look at him with eyes that see a person who is probably in pain and fear and does not have the emotional tools to let down the walls.

Because really we are all just humans trying to find some love and compassion.  Some safety, understanding and connection. I am not interested in connecting past co-workers with this man, but I would like to spend my day in grace and ease.  I know that starts with me. I can control my reactions, I can control where I spend my thoughts.  It is up to me which wolf I feed.  I know it won’t be easy. I know he pushes my buttons, but my job is figure why, use the teachings around that and go out in the world open, available and with love.

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