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.

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.

I Write, I Write. Everyday, I Write

Journal Entry - July 26, 2015
Part Nine of how Morning Pages(my journal) 
helped me process through a change.

I write.  I write.  Every day, I write.  Yesterday was everything many dream of.  A quiet, peaceful day with nothing to do.  And I did nothing. Oh well, that’s not exactly true.  I cleaned my little home, then went for a walk in the woods.  Someone had told me that mosquitos don’t like the smell of vanilla.  I had to try that out.  Come to find out, it’s true! It’s a little messy, spreading vanilla extract all over yourself and I walked through the woods smelling like a cookie but it really does repel mosquitos!

Then, back here to just sit and decide what next.  I watched a lot of TV and then got sad thinking about my grandson.  If they move away, this will be my life everyday.  This quiet, peaceful existence…everyday…BORING!!!

I didn’t want to dwell on it.  I’m trying to let God handle it.  I went to bed early and slept until 5:30 am.  It felt great.  And now, laying ahead of me, is today.  It’s Sunday.  Nothing to do.  House is clean.  Plants watered. Weather beautiful.  I’ll walk the woods this morning and maybe again this afternoon.  I can’t spend money right now.  I need to save for other things.

It’s a strange time, right now, in my head.  I’m empty of light.  I read through other’s posts and I don’t care.  I try to think of something to write and I come up dry.  Empty. I wanted to be that person who could help guide others to the light.  Right now, I think “Find your own way!”  I’m in protective mode.  I’m waiting for the bomb to drop.  I’m working out how I’m going to respond on that day when I hear the words.  I’m trying to be ready in case God’s plan is to move them away.  Slow, deep breathes…Slow deep breathes.

When I walk the summer woods, it’s hot and humid and still.

IMG_8464 IMG_8467Animals move slowly. Birds sing a little less during the day.  I breathe in the oxygen of the leaves and I walk, trying to think of nothing.

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Then, in pops thoughts of a brother who died homeless, and an ex-husband who took his own life, and I feel guilt.  I should have done more, tried harder, been better.

I’m alone, right now, maybe because I deserve to be!

I need to STOP taking the blame…or the credit for every other person’s journey.  I am not that special!  Remember?  My brother and my ex-husband did as they did of their own accord.  To think that I caused it is being pompous.  Each of us has our own power to play out our life the way we want.  I, right now, have the power to get on with mine!  Find other interests, meet other people.

But, right now, I don’t want to.  Right now I am choosing to be alone.  I am choosing this!  It is not a punishment.  As I chose, yesterday, to sit and watch TV, I will choose today to maybe do the same.

We’ll see.

Who Would You Call A “Trusted” Friend?

Journal Entry - July 23, 2015
Part Seven of how Morning Pages(my journal) 
helped me process through a change.

What are the characteristics of a “trusted” friend?

  • Someone who doesn’t judge
  • Who drops everything to be there when you need them
  • Who feels comfortable sharing with you
  • Who gives advice, gently, but doesn’t criticize if you don’t follow it
  • Someone who can make you laugh through the tears

So, why am I writing this?

I’ve, once again, pulled out the Animal Spirit Guide Message Cards by Steven D. Farmer.

To use these cards, you simply have to shuffle them until you feel ready, then pull one card that seems to call out to you for some reason.  All the while, you are thinking “Which animal spirit guide could help me right now?”

My card suggested this activity along with thinking about one or more people I would consider to be a “trusted” friend.  So, I make this list and think “Who fits this description?” The answer is my oldest daughter; no one else.  My sister comes close but, oh, she has so many problems of her own.  And, then, I think “Why don’t I have more friends?”

In high school, I hung with a small group of girls, part of a pack.  Not sure…no, I’m sure, none of them were real friends based on the list above.

Then, college – roommates…friends?  Well, we got along, if that counts.  I was in one’s wedding, another was in mine.  But the waters parted when I got a divorce.

On to work friends – We shared so much and I thought some were the best friends of my life until I left teaching and became an administrator.  Oh no!  I drank the kool-aid!

Now, friends – Two people I see once a month for lunch. another who swears she’ll reschedule a time to meet after she had to abruptly cancel one…three months ago, and some people at the gym who are friends…at the gym.  There’s a neighbor who watches my cat when I’m gone.  Does that count?

Look at this list?  I don’t really have any friends!  There is no one, right now, who I can talk to about my life except my daughter.  And, she is trying to cope with this change as well along with trying to stay excited about her upcoming wedding and attempting to piece together jobs that might add up to enough money to pay the bills.

In other words, everyone has issues, pain that they are dealing with.  Life is not easy for anyone.  So, going to someone and dumping your problems out to them seems like adding burden to their already weighted shoulders.

It reminds me of a time when I asked my brother if maybe he could show me how to hang wallpaper.  It was the first time I had ever reached out to him or anyone, really, to ask for help.  His  answer – “No, I’m already helping too many people.”

It seems like, pretty much all of my life I’ve been able to count on one person.  That person is me.  I will figure this all out.  So thanks, Spirit Guide Message Card, but today, I’ll pass on your guidance…unless you can help me find a real “friend”.

Maybe I Should Take Up Knitting

Journal Entry - July 22, 2015
Part Six of how Morning Pages(my journal) 
helped me process through a change

When I was a teenager, my mom told me that I needed to take up a hobby; something like knitting, embroidery, or crocheting.  She said that if I didn’t, I’d be bored.  Well, I’ve made it for 64 years without any of that yarn but I may be nearing a point. I like having a project to work on and just like with a knitted sweater, I like having a way to give it to someone.

Since Sunday, and our return from the river camping trip, I’ve been working on a video using the photos and some live video inserts.  It should have been an easy task but it was made complicated by pesky copyright violations and 10 second limits on personal video inserts but I learned a lot and last night I was able to load it to Facebook.  As usual, I wish I had taken a moment longer and loaded it to Youtube, it would have looked better.  But, I got excited and anxious to share.  Oh well, it’s done and now I sit in wonder of what my next project will be.  Maybe I should have taken up knitting. 🙂

I sure did like the diversion from sad thoughts of my daughter and grandson leaving. I spent yesterday, then, with my grandson.  He played in the dirt in his pajamas because…why not?  Then, he ran around the house in just a diaper having the time of his life. He just didn’t want to get dressed. The beauty of it was, there was no need for him to get dressed.  Finally, when he realized that we couldn’t go to the construction site without clothes on, he willingly went upstairs.  Then, fully clothed, we took off early to meet up with his mama for lunch.  It took us an hour to go 15 minutes because we had to stop and watch an excavator dig up a sidewalk.  Then, we had to remove all of the rocks from the sand under our favorite swing, and then… swing, of course.  Finally, we had to check the progress on the buildings that are going up in the neighborhood. It was a perfect walk, a beautiful day, a great (peaceful) lunch.

I want my daughter and I to go back to that place, that time.  Instead, our conversation is focused solely on the baby.  What did he do today?  Any new words? Was he a good boy?  I ask nothing about the job interview.  She shares nothing about the status.  I can’t help her with her feelings. She can’t help me with mine. We’re just carrying the burden alone…and it makes me want to vomit. Part of me is saying, “Just go already. Just go!”  The other part of me is holding on to my grandson so tightly.

Why can’t my son-in-law find the perfect job right here? Why do millions of other people find jobs to be close to their families.  Instead, they are moving to be close to a brother he hasn’t seen in three years.

Their new baby…will I know that baby?  Will that baby know me?

I think I need to learn how to crochet.  Maybe those hobbies were  meant to help you cope with grief and pain and loss.  Maybe my mom was right. WHAT?!?