Words

 

It’s all been said before.
You’ve heard the words.

“Relax.
Go with the flow.
Just focus on today.
Take one moment at a time.”

Right? Right!

Words!
Just words!
No one can tell you how to handle this.
No one can feel what I feel.

Everything will be ok.
 Just breathe!
Focus on this moment.
Don’t worry about tomorrow.

But everything doesn’t feel ok.

It’s hard to breathe.

I can’t focus.

I am worried.

Ok.
I will listen.
I will be by your side.
Cry, if you need to.
I’ll hold your hand.
Scream if it helps.
I’ll understand.

Sometimes,
Silence
Is the best advice.

Sometimes,
Being present
Is the best friend.

The words will always be there.
They linger in the air
For just the right moment.
When I’m ready
They’ll be heard.

What Really Matters?

IMG_9485This older me, this wiser me…

looks back before I head into this new year.  This older me, this wiser me reflects on one simple question:  “What really mattered in my life?  What really mattered?

Was it to be popular with others my age (first in school, then in my job, then with other parents, and on and on)?  I wanted so much to be popular.  Did that really matter?

Was it to have nice things (clothes, cars, houses, furniture)?  I longed for nice things, worked hard for nice things, my whole life.  Did those things really matter?

I did so much in my life.  I always wanted more.  I had a career, a marriage, children.  I raced from task to task, wanting to be the best for each of them; always longing to be better than I felt I was, feeling less than perfect all the time.

Did it matter?  Did it really matter?

This older me, this wiser me looks back and thinks…

What really mattered was the laughter, the love, the hugs, the conversations, the moments of pure joy.  None of these things had popularity or fashion or money requirements.  They came to me free of charge with only one requirement; I had to give these things back to others.

This older me, this wiser me…

found peace inside, and with that peace came this simple but profound understanding.  I realized, as I looked back on my memories that when I laughed, others laughed.  When I hugged, I got a hug in return.  When I listened to others, others listened to me.  When I shared my moments of pure joy, it made others happy and they, in turn, shared their’s.  When I gave love, I got loved right back.

So, what really matters in this life?

How about if you STOP!  Stop trying to be… and do… and want… and need… something more. STOP! Stop wishing…and hoping… and longing…for something you don’t have. STOP!  Stop believing that being popular, having a great job, making lots of money is what matters…because… it doesn’t.

In the end, the older you, the wiser you will look back… at the laughter… the love…the hugs…the conversations…the moments of pure joy.

And, they were all free to give and freely given in return.

So, this older me, this wiser me says…

This is my gift to you for the new year.  You don’t have to wait to be old to be wise.  Right now, today, you can bring laughter into your day, you can hug someone and listen (really listen) to someone.  And then, try sharing a moment of pure joy.  See for yourself.  See if, by doing these things, you find love.

And, that, my friends, is what really matters…to love!

 

 

Happiness Is Homemade

Happiness Is Homemade

“I just want to be happy”,
she says through the tears.
It’s all I’ve every wanted.
I’ve said so for years.

She cries out to God,
“I just want a reason to smile.
I’ve been begging and begging,
It’s been such a long while.

The answer comes back:
“Happiness is Homemade.
I love you, I’m here.
Stop being afraid.”
“Are you really here for me?
I try so hard not to be afraid.
But tell me what this message means.”
she prayed.

“Homemade means:
Something that you make from scratch,
You make it with your own two hands,
Using all your best ingredients, in the whole batch.”

“Happiness isn’t given to you.
You have to make it instead.
It means you need to
go after those dreams in your head.

You speak of them clearly
Day after day.
FEAR is the Devil
Push him away.”

“Happiness is homemade.
It’s all up to me?”

“Yes, but I’m here with you.
Trust me. You’ll see!”

Once Again, Time To Get Thankful

IMG_8813Over the past months, I have been through a very dark time; emotions at an all time high. I practiced breathing with regular walks in a woods and soothing music during car rides. I wished, with all my might, that things could be different. Still the inevitable was going to happen. It was out of my control.

I sit now, in a quiet place, on the other side of the storm, and I’m being told that it’s time to give thanks. Give thanks and then think about what you would really want in your life. Believe that it already exists. Stop any negative noise that tells you different. That will negate the process.

So, I did it. I first thought about everything that I am truly thankful for and the list is long. I have my health, a beautiful family, a lovely place to live, enough money to pay the bills, and connections to people whom I truly enjoy. I have everything I need, so this changes what you would think I would request.

If I Could Have, In My Life, Anything I Wanted What Would It Be?

Turns out  it’s not to undo everything that just happened in my most current storm.  I do understand that everything happens for a reason and I have to be open and accepting.

It also turns out that it’s not money; at least not millions of dollars. I really just want enough money to stay independent. I want enough money to, once in awhile, buy something frivolous. I want enough money so that I can look around me and say with pride “I must have done a good job.”

It’s not about wanting the lives of people who have passed to be back. I really have always thought that they never left. I feel their presence in every big event. I feel their arms around me in every crisis.

So, Tell Me What You Want, What You Really Really Want!

After giving it some serious thought, I realized that what I really want is bigger than all of the above.

I want to love and be loved by the people around me. I want to be important in the lives of my kids but not so much that it makes us all dependent on each other. I want to stay healthy and strong because with that strength comes my desire to remain independent. I to be surrounded by people who accept others for being a child of God regardless of their race, sexual orientation, or beliefs. I want, also, surround myself with people who are want to help others.  I want to be one of those people too.  I want to always be humble. A long time ago, I was told that I was not so special, and for a while, I believed that to be a negative. Now, I agree.  I am a small dot in this massive universe. Small dot or not, though, I want to matter.

Now, Imagine That You Already Have Everything You Wished For

I have read that a person brings energy into their life (either positive or negative) based on what you allow yourself to believe. I want to bring in as much positive energy as I can, so here goes:

  • I believe that I put out love and I am truly loved by others.
  • I am important in the lives of my family but they are not dependent on me.
  • I am healthy and strong. I am independent.
  • I am surrounded by people who accept others for being a child of God regardless of race, sexual orientation, or beliefs.
  • I am surrounded by people who love to help others.  I am one of them.
  • I am humble.
  • I do matter.
Try It Yourself

This was an eye opener for me. Initially, I thought what everyone thinks when asked, “If you could have anything you want, what would it be?” My answer was, “A million dollars.” But by doing this activity, I realized how weak that wish really is. I don’t want or need a million dollars to be happy.  I am, instead, truly blessed.  And, although I have been put through a storm, it only made me stronger. Every storm tests your resolve and I believe I weathered this one. This has made me ponder what is really important in life. I will continue to remind myself of all that I have to be thankful for and every time I allow a negative thought, I will go back to my thankful list. Negative thinking sinks boats when there’s a storm.

So, if you could have anything you want, what would you wish for? Start with thankfulness for all you have, then think again about what else you need to fulfill your life. Then turn them all into positive belief statements. Pretend you already have them. Allow this positive energy to help make all your wishes come true.

Ode To An Autumn Woods

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Ode To An Autumn Woods

Oh, autumn woods, I thank you!
So many lessons learned beneath your trees,
You’ve taught me what to do.
You’ve guided with your gentle breeze.
But it’s time.
Your tree’s brilliant colors captivate!
Reds mixed with yellow and hues of green and brown.
You told each leaf that it’s time to celebrate.
Listen! The leaves are applauding all around.
It’s time.
Change is happening. I can see it in the sky.
Summer’s warmth, while so sublime
Now chillingly says “It’s time to fly.”
Time to let go. It’s time…
It’s time.
Then the winds grow still all around
A quiet respect fills the air.
Geese take to the sky with a mournful sound.
“Good-bye”, they seem to share.
It’s time.
Colors explode with each new day.
Trees still filled with brilliant splendor all around.
Then suddenly the leaves exclaim, “I can no longer stay.”
And they drift, unceremoniously, to the ground.
It’s time.
The leaves are now a burden to the tree
But they did their job and they loved it so.
Drifting, floating, suddenly free
They understand. They need to let go.
It’s time.
The sun peaks out from behind a cloud
Shining, now easily, through branches of the tree.
“Don’t be sad”, it seems to say out loud.
“I’ll put sparkle elsewhere, you’ll see.”
It’s time.
Animals are busy, scurrying about
Gathering food to tuck away.
It’s like they’re telling me, “There’s little doubt
We must prepare for another day.”
It’s time.
Plants, dropping seeds everywhere, you’ll find.
They tell us this is how they survive.
They say, “Leave a little bit of yourself behind.
Then you, too, will stay alive.
It’s time.
Oh autumn woods, it’s so hard to say good-bye.
“Don’t worry, my child, you’ll be fine, you know.
It’s time, now, for you to learn how to fly.
You can do it. You just have to let go.
It’s time, you know. It’s time.

Today’s Challenge To Myself

To have a beautiful life,
find the beauty in everything.
Sarah Marie Thompson

Ok, I need to play this out. This is the month from hell. Rethinking it as beauty, is today’s challenge to myself.

My daughter, her husband, and my grandson are leaving.

Sadness

Beauty

I will no longer take care of my grandson 3 days a week. What a gift it has been to have been allowed to care for him for nearly 2 years.
I will miss the time I have spent with this daughter.  She was so insistent that I get involved with her passion.  So, I spent time volunteering to stuff envelopes, run errands, and help out at events. I was able to be part of the magic that is First Stage, a children’s theater academy.  I was able to help my daughter but I ended up feeling like part of a greater family.
I worry for my daughter.  She has left friends, family, and a job she loved to make this move. I am proud of my daughter.  She loves her husband so much.  She is, selflessly, turning the spotlight on him right now. That’s true love.
And the hardest part of all is that they will all be so far away.  Thankfully, there are such things as Face Time now.  Video chats can happen every day, if we choose.

I am moving too!

Sadness

Beauty

I somehow found myself renting a place that actually faces a nature preserve. This beautiful space has been my meditation space for 3 years. I am moving closer to another daughter.  We can easily walk to each other’s place whenever we want to.
When I first moved here, the animals that came out of the woods, scared me a bit.  Raccoons would peer right into my patio door at night.  Now, we have become comfortable with each other.  I will miss their visits. I, now, have such a beautiful appreciation for the gentle nature of animals.  They have taught me so much about resilience, risk taking, and simply being gentle with myself.  Their messages will live with me forever.
The paths into the woods were just steps away from my back door.  Walking these paths has become a time of true meditation. I have found something that brings me peace when I am troubled.  I know, now, that it’s worth a small drive to spend time in such a sanctuary.
Why would I leave such a beautiful place?  Rent!  My income will not increase but the rent goes up each year.  That fact makes it too difficult to stay. My rent will go down substantially with this move allowing me the extra cash I will need, now, for airline tickets to visit my other daughter and grandson.

You know, I think this worked. Maybe just for the moment but this was a great way to refocus my brain.

Grief

How can I write of joy
When my heart weeps?                                                                                                           I have to let go of precious moments
They were never mine to keep?

Words on paper
Bleed with sadness.
Exhausted, I scream,
“Get me out of this madness!”

Make this feeling go away!

Each day
Again, I try.
Be strong. You got this.
Still, I cry.

Time passes
Images play with my brain.
Pictures of those precious moments,
Tears fall like rain.

Please God, find me a sunny day.

I can’t find the words
That will make this ok.
Is there some lesson
That I’m supposed to take away?

What is the lesson?
Just tell me, please!
I’m broken and spent.
I’m down on my knees.

God, say what you need to say.

“Understand that the sun
doesn’t automatically shine every day.
Storms and clouds are sent as reminders.
Appreciate the sun’s glow or it will be hidden away.

But know, that the sun,
While hidden from view.
Has not gone away.
It’s there…waiting for you.”

I choose?  I CHOOSE! It’s up to me to bring the sun out today.

Out Of Darkness

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It’s been years now; twenty-one to be exact, since I was shocked into the realization that you had decided to leave.  You left!  Done.  Over.  Your “Life” would breathe no more.  Your “Life”, finished.

I screamed, “NO!”  I sobbed and, through the tears, I raced…raced to grab your girls.  Raced to hold them, to let them know that I was still here.  I didn’t want to let them go. But “Life” moves on.

People wanted to talk.  People needed me to answer questions.  People wanted to cry with me. In my head, I’m thinking that they also wanted to judge me.  “This is your fault!”  But instead, I heard people say “I should have known.”  “I should have seen the signs.” “I should have reached out.”  “He called me yesterday and I didn’t have time to talk. I should have taken the time.”

Time passes.  “Life” goes on.  Events happen that you should have been present for.  Your girls graduated from high school.  They went on to college.  You were not there to help them choose career paths.  They, each, spent a semester in London.  I worried for both of us for their safe travels and returns.  You were not there for their college graduations either, or to help encourage them through job interviews, or to move them time and again from apartment after apartment and finally to real homes.  I walked both of your daughters down the aisle on their wedding days and you missed the birth of your first grand child.

You missed it all…or did you?

Twenty-one years have passed since you left.  You didn’t even say “Good-bye.”  Everyone has a “Life” journey.  Were you supposed to end your’s at that moment?  Were you supposed to just disappear?  You know, your choice changed our “Life”.  Your decision changed our journey.  You know, we still remember you.  We still grieve your choice to leave this “Life” behind.

Yet, out of the darkness, your girls have grown strong, supportive, resilient.  Out of the darkness, we still hold each other tight.  We want to believe that you have been there still.  Out of the darkness, we, now, see you in a different kind of “Life”.  We think it was you who kept them safe in London, helped them find great jobs, made sure that the sun shined bright on their wedding days.  And it is you, now, who watches over your grandson. who is the joy in all of our lives.

Out of the darkness,  we know you are there and we love you…still.

Fast Forward

Morning Pages, my journal, has become an important part of my morning routine.  It has been a place for me to share my joy and my sorrow, my anger and frustrations.  No one needs to see my words, ever, unless I choose to share.

The past blogs have been about a potential change in my life and how I processed it through words on paper.  I had to stop sharing when the pain became too deep.

I didn’t stop writing daily in my journal, however.  Over the past two months, there were moments of dread…hope…devastation… fear…realization…grief… acceptance…and now today patiently waiting to get to the other side.

Sprinkled in amongst the elements of change were moments of normalcy, even joy.

Life.

It’s all there.  Documented for me to review.  What I see is that, after scratching out all the anger (you can see it in my handwriting as well as in my words), I found my way to understanding.

My daughter is moving far away.  She is taking, with her, my job, my joy, my grandson. Change is hard on everyone.

She sat, calmly, while I cried.  She stood, strong, with her man. Time passed, and we didn’t talk about it.  Instead, we focused on the daily activities of the baby; superficial conversation to keep the tears from my eyes.   At one point, in my journal, I wrote what I knew I needed to write:  “Let go.  Let God.”  I put this in God’s hands.

It was at this point that I started listening, hearing words that weren’t spoken, out loud, but still so clearly evident.  My daughter. I started hearing my daughter. The words were there, behind her eyes.  A mom knows.  This was breaking her heart too.  But, she appeared, on the outside, to be happy about the opportunity for “an adventure” as she called it.

When I found my strength, she could let go of her’s.

She cried. “I’m afraid.”

“Me too!” is all I could say back.

But, at least we were talking together again. And then I could hug her and tell her how much I love her and that everything was going to be ok. And, I could once again be the support that she counts on with words of encouragement.  “This is an opportunity, a door that has been opened for you.  You would always wonder what was on the other side if you didn’t pass through this door.”

My journal documents the daily, gripping pain that I no longer shared out loud with her until it became monotonous even for me. My god, get over it already.  No one is dying!

And then, in the middle of the despair, my other daughter marries.  The clouds parted.  Joy and sunshine filled a few days. I practiced a toast over and over again until it became part of me.  Words of deep love for my daughter; my daughters. Words that tell our story:

“When their dad died, in 1994, we became a very tight unit.  We watch out for each other.  We help each other.  We have laughed and cried together, listened and loved each other through everything.”

And then, I offered up a toast that was more actual suggestions for a happy, successful marriage:  Watch out for each other.  Help each other. Laugh and cry together.  Listen and love each other through everything.

I looked at both my daughters, on this day, and saw beautiful women standing strong by their men.  And, I was a proud mom standing strong with my daughter; my daughters.

We have a bond. No move will break that bond.  But even today, as we count down the last two weeks before they move, I write again, “Let go.  Let God.  I feel I have.  At least, I’ve tried.  Letting go, doesn’t take away the grief.  It just removes the battle.”

Each day, my outward strength has allowed my daughter to grieve.  She is leaving a great job, wonderful friends, and lifetime of connections that has made her so successful.  She is allowing the light to shine on her husband now.  Her courage is amazing.  Still, she cries.  Seeing your daughter stand strong with tears in her eyes, is humbling. We have come full circle.  I smile.  I raised a daughter to be strong.  She is now giving strength back to me.

This Place

Journal Entry - July 30, 2015
Post # 10 of how Morning Pages(my journal) 
helped me process through a change.

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Went for a walk in the woods yesterday and took a couple pictures of a hawk.  It waited for me to take each photo so of course I had to look up it’s message

  •  “You’re caught up in too many details, so step back so you can get a greater perspective on the situation.
  • Stay alert and focused on the task before you, eliminating as many distractions as possible.
  • Spend some time observing and studying the situation and when it’s time for action make it quick and decisive.
  • Be aware of any personal psychic attacks and be prepared to defend yourself.
  • Stop trying to change others or the situation and work instead on accepting things as they are.”

Well, doesn’t that message just about say it all, especially the last one.  I must accept things that happen.  I must not try to change them.  It’s not my place to step in front of someone’s life journey.   I know that.  I do.  It just really hard, though, when their decision affects your life. I will try to stay calm and observant.

I love my place right now but I am working to find another.  It’s time to reduce the rent and maybe live closer to one daughter.  There’s something telling me “it’s time.”  Time to not be living alone or at least quite so alone.  I look outside, here, and my heart breaks a little just thinking about leaving and I think of all those other times I have moved.  I wrap myself up in protective layers and just start packing – one closet at a time.  Sorting, discarding, choosing.  I take down my “home” – make it uncomfortable to stay in any longer; feeling so uncomfortable to stay that I can hardly wait to escape this place that no longer feels like “home”.  Then, I quickly get to the next place so that I can make it feel good enough to spend that first night.

Ok, I’m not leaving yet, but it’s coming.  I know it.  So, for today, I breathe in the air, take photos of the flowers and the animals. enjoy the quiet meditative peace that has been my backyard and send up praise to the powers that be that I was given this gift just when I needed it most.

This place has provided me with companionship even though I lived alone.

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This place guided me through a hard divorce and the sickness and death of my brother.

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This place gave me the strength to walk into a gym and hire a trainer; a trainer who was the brightest star I could have had cheering me on as I worked to put physical strength above wasteful, harmful pastimes.

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This place gave me a place to come to when I felt the pain of leaving a lifelong career.

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This place allowed me to find another job; one the filled that initial void and made me feel necessary, still.

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And, it was this place where I celebrated the announcement of my first grand baby.

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It was this place, where I’ve been alone, but not alone.  I’ve been surrounded by some kind of wonderful energy that has continuously shown me love, guidance, peace, and power!

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This place – Thank you, God for showing me the way to this place.