Saying “Yes” To Your Life

How many times have you been told “No” and you allowed that simple word to stop you?

Over my many years, I have entered into areas where someone thought I didn’t belong.

Going to college. Getting a divorce. These are two that leap to my consciousness right now. There were many smaller events as well. Little things that told me that I was not worthy of having that thing, going that direction, being with that person. Well intentioned people who tried to block my life from happening. I have done it, as well, to others, I have to admit. Somehow thinking that we know better how someone is supposed to play out their life’s journey keeps us busily away from seriously focusing on our own.

Rules, Protocols, Traditions, Beliefs

There are all these rules, protocols, traditions, beliefs along your journey that you feel obligated to uphold. And so you do… until some defining moment when something stronger intervenes. It’s a pull, a push, a strong sensation that no matter what others think or believe, you are destined to do something different. And while others are shouting “No, No, No”, there is a stronger voice that’s louder; “It’s time. It’s time. It’s time.”

It’s Time!

It’s these times, when you go against all logic, all learned behavior, all past traditions, and you follow destiny. These are the moments when you accept YOU. Not someone else’s vision of you but you, the one unique being that God created you to be. And, later, while looking in that rear view mirror, you are somehow surprised! How did I get here? How was I so fortunate? How did I manage to make this happen?

It was destiny’s push that filled your brain with a positive message. Words that strongly repeated “Yes, I can!”, while others were saying “No.”

“Yes I Can”

Words of confirmation: “I am capable”. “I am smart.” “I am worthy!” Marching orders. Repeat them. Shout them out loud as you put one foot in front of the other and move…forward!

I Have One Life

And it belongs to me. I have been put on this earth to carry out some mission. I am unique just like you are unique. My mission was predetermined before I was born. I believe that I have spent most of my life trying to figure out what that mission actually was supposed to be. It’s taken me a lifetime to realize that I had choices every single step of the way. And it has been those choices that either held me back or opened me up to the life I am supposed to live.

So Begin Today

Today, I will begin. I will say “Yes” to my life as it unfolds. I will not throw up barriers. I will not let fear or judgement close doors that were presented for me to open. It’s never to late to say “Yes” to your life. It’s never too late.

I am capable!

I am smart!

I am worthy!

Call On The Butterfly When It’s Time To Change

IMG_0329

It’s Time For A Change

Time to once again find the courage to break free of a self-imposed cocoon. I need you right now, Butterfly.  Remind me:

Lighten up.  Stop taking everything so seriously. It’s time to make a change. In spite of the challenges, you’ll get through this transition…as always, remember, “this too shall pass”.  (Farmer, S.D., 2006)

Ok, ok. I can do this.

Every Single Time, I Freak Out!

I’ve lived long enough to have experienced change before.  Many times, actually.  Yet, every single time, my brain goes into “freak out” mode.  Still, still, I never ever let that fear stop me from making that change!  NEVER!

Sometimes, it slowed me down, though, I have to admit.  Fear is such a powerful force.  And, slowing down is actually not a bad response.  So I will say that fear can be a healthy thing, for a time.  But, fear should never be used as a REASON to stop you from changing.

So, over my life time, I have learned how to breathe through fear and embrace change.

Praying Through It All

You know, when I was a little kid, I was taught to say specific prayers.  Raised Catholic, I endured rosary after rosary and it was called “praying”.  I didn’t get it.  I wasn’t praying! I was simply barking out memorized lines of a chant.  “Hail Mary, full of grace, the lord is with thee…”  Over and over again, we would repeat these lines because we needed to ask God for forgiveness for our sins.

It wasn’t until I was older that I actually found the courage to tell my mother that I wanted to just talk to God, not say so many Hail Mary’s and Our Father’s.  She did not approve!  Still, it was then that I truly learned how to pray.  But for years, I didn’t pray because I thought praying was all about asking for something, begging for something and I didn’t think it was right to think that I deserved anything better than anyone else.  It was years later that I found that I could actually pray to God in thankfulness.  And I did, and I do most every night.

But then there are those times where I am going through a change and my brain is freaking out and I find myself begging for a sign that everything will be ok.  It was during one of these “freak out” sessions that I learned of Animal Spirit Guides by Steven D. Farmer.  It was at this moment that I felt, for the first time, that I could feel and see guidance from the spirit world.  And, for maybe the first time in my life, I felt that I didn’t have to push through a change on my own anymore.

Now, I talk to God but I also talk to family members who have passed before me.  I ask them for help freely.  And then I pay attention to the signs.  Most of the best signs I see in nature with the guidance of the Animal Spirit Guide and a set of cards.  Messages From Your Animal Spirit Guide by Steven Farmer is the deck of cards that I use on a regular basis.  And when I’m going through a change, I will get messages that may say things that include “go for it” to “slow down” or “step back to see the big picture”.

And Sure Enough, I Get Through It

Yes I do, with the help of my guides, I move through change with strength and conviction but also with thoughtful  reflection.  Fear does not define me.  Fear slows me down.  Fear tells me to proceed with caution but I don’t let fear stop me.  It’s when I feel fear that I reach out to God and all the spirits of my loved ones and say “I need help with this one. Please, tell me what to do.”  And then I listen.

Listen

Pay attention.  Messages are all around us.  Today, I needed the message of the Butterfly.  I am headed into another change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Is A Story About A Robin…But You Have To Wait For It!

IMG_0322.jpg
Personal Photo

No, I’m not going to mention this robin right now.  Wait for it.

First, I need to share this:

Yesterday was one of those days; an incredible day that ended with me feeling as though I had real purpose.

It started simply enough with me taking my brother to a doctor’s appointment.  It wasn’t any simple appointment though.  He was to be scheduled for quadruple bypass surgery.  The doctor’s office is in an area unfamiliar to my brother so I offered to meet him halfway and drive him in.  The first road was blocked with a bridge out.  He instantly panicked but luckily I knew a different route.  He was thankful, at that moment, for me. The appointment had a twist.  We thought we were to schedule surgery, instead he needs to return to meet, first, with another cardiologist.  They have to make his heart strong enough for surgery.  My brother has a bit of a short fuse, so luckily I was there to keep everything calm.  Then, as we tried to set up a schedule for this additional doctor, I felt that the directions had been listed wrong.  I was right!  He needed a “heart failure” cardiologist not just a regular cardiologist.  It was because I had taken notes during our meeting with the surgeon that I was able to catch this and get it checked out and corrected before we made an unnecessary trip in to the wrong doctor.  My brother was safely delivered back to our halfway meeting point and he was calm.  My duty was done and he was very thankful.  I was pleased.

Second Story:

Then, my sister called.  She’s been living through several tough years.  She hates her job, also has heart issues, and just recently went through breast cancer surgery.  Through all of this, she has had a dream of running her own business; a shop of up-cycled treasures.  Last summer, we worked together to try it out by setting up displays at flea markets.  That worked well enough but made her tired and disappointed.  Still, the spring warmth and sunshine has her longing to try again.  With her energy level low, I’d offered to drive to her home every Saturday (75 minutes away) to help get things ready.  Then she hears that someone has a booth at an antique mall and would like to split the cost with her.  I jumped at the chance to encourage this.  “I’ll split the cost with you”, I say. Still it took two weeks before she contacted her friend and followed through with signing a 6 month lease for her half.  I was there again this Saturday to price some items and take them over this last Saturday.  She begins placement of her treasures and I could see that she was in her happy place.  She has an eye for design.  She started immediately rearranging the items already there, placing them in ways that compliment their value and then started placing hers.  In a little over an hour, we were done and she was pleased.  But it was yesterday when she called that there was actual joy in her voice.  She had returned to her booth to place a few more items.   The owner made a special point of telling her how nice the booth looked.  She told her more than once.  My sister mentioned it to me five times during our conversation.  She then shared a story about this job that she hates.  She’s been moved back to the deli area; the area that she had said was way too hard on her.  Today she was super busy. Why?  Because people are glad she’s back!  She was overjoyed!  Her hate for the job replaced with a new sense of value. I ended this conversation feeling as though I maybe had a bit of role in moving her towards her dream.  She was happier than I have heard her in years.  And I smiled.

Third Story And This Is Where The Robin Comes In:

I was sitting down, ready to eat and the phone rings yet again.  I see who’s calling and my instinct was to ignore it and go on  with my dinner.  Instead, I answered.  “Jane, you’re my bird lady.  You have to help me.  There is this robin that has been flying into my window all day long.  What is wrong with this bird?”  I tell her what I know about this kind of bird behavior but truthfully she really just wants to tell me how frustrating it all was and how she’s tried everything to make it just stop.  Then she changes topic a bit and tells me how upset she’s been lately with her life and how she even prayed to God to send someone to help her.  At that point, I said that maybe the robin was trying to get a message to her and while she continued to share her despair, I looked up the spirit message of the robin and then stopped her and said, “This is the message from the robin.”

If Robin has flown into your life;
Robin signifies stimulation of new growth and renewal in many areas of life. He teaches that any changes can be made with joy, laughter and a song in your heart. This bird shows you how to ride the winds of passion within your heart and become independent and self reliant through this change. The energy of this bird will teach you how to move forward with grace, tenacity, perseverance and assertion. Are you letting go of personal dramas? Ones that no longer serve your higher purpose? Are you exercising compassion and patience in mental, spiritual and emotional areas? This creature will teach how to incorporate new beginnings with faith and trust in the process. It is time to believe in yourself and use the inspiration that is given. Listen carefully. It is time sing your own song for a new period in your life.

When I finished, I waited for a response and instead heard silence.  I was worried that I had gone too far.  Perhaps she wasn’t interested in the possibility of animals sending messages to her.  But instead, she said, “You have no idea how amazing it is to hear that right now and let me tell you why.” She went on to share how so many things have been out of order in her life for the past months, how she had just told her husband that she needed to do something to change it, to bring back the joy in her life, to find her way back to taking care of herself, how she needed to back away from trying to be everything to everyone else.  And then she spoke of how much she missed our time together at the gym we had belonged to and I agreed.  We had been healthy and strong and we had both been away from that for too long.  We made a plan to meet tomorrow to get some exercise.  And then she said, “Well, I asked God to send someone to help me and I never thought it would be a bird!” And she laughed.  I smiled and then said, “Maybe God sent me.”

I went to bed last night with a happy heart.

 

Slow Down. Wait For Me!

IMG_0297.jpg

Wait for me you guys!

 

Why be in such a hurry?

Let’s enjoy today.

 

 

Remember when days seemed to go so slow?

When waiting for something seemed like an endless chore?  “I can hardly wait until…I turn sixteen so I can drive.. graduate from high school… turn 21 so I can legally drink… graduate from college… get married… have a baby… buy my first house.” And then something happens. All of a sudden, the “I can’t wait until” becomes  “I don’t want to turn 30…40…50…60!  Slow down! Hold on!  Everything is going too fast!”

And then, something inside your head says, “Just breathe.”

You stop for a moment and do just that and it’s like the first time that you actually heard birds singing or saw that tiny flower poking through the ground.  It’s the first time that you stood still and actually felt the warmth of the sun and saw the rays beaming through the branches of a tree. And hearing a baby cry sounds more like a miracle instead of a noise.

Slow down

It’s at this point that you realize that each day is a gift and you have a choice.  You can rush through the day and fall exhausted into bed each night feeling as though you will never ever get everything done and time is passing you by.  Or, you can find it in yourself to slow down and look at everything as a gift.  Today is a gift.  My home, the people who surround me, my health, the food in my cupboards, and that sunshine are all gifts.

Enjoy the moment

Once you allow yourself this moment, you realize that nothing is more important…not yesterday…not tomorrow.  This moment is a gift.  Enjoy it.

 

 

 

Did I Choose That Path or Did That Path Choose Me?

IMG_8216

Originally posted in 2015 – Time to revisit this message

My life has been the ultimate journey.  I’ve heard it said that your life is a series of choices.

But really:

Do you actually get to plan your trip?

Do you really get to lead your life your way or …

Do you simply follow paths that are laid out for you?

I Was Not A Planner

I remember realizing, during my junior year of high school, that my friends had plans to go to college.  What?  I hadn’t even given it a thought!  Good god!  I visited the guidance counselor for the first time, about then, saying something like “HELP!  Should I be going to college?”

Two years later, I was in college and started out in the Business School.  Why?  Because, I don’t know.  It sounded like a good idea, and I had to start somewhere.  It didn’t take long to realize that I actually hated business classes and there I was, sitting on the floor of my shared apartment, combing through a course catalog trying to find something that sounded interesting.  Did I plan on the field of education or was I guided there?  I don’t know.  Did I choose to leave the field of business or were my lack-luster grades telling me to GET OUT while I still have a grade point average of some kind?

Subtle little messages along life’s pathway are not planned.  They’re just there.  When I got married, did I plan to get a divorce?  Not at all.  Yet there it was.  And when I retired from thirty plus years in education, did I plan to walk away from a beautiful new house to move to a little apartment?  Ummm.  NO!

Planning Without A Plan

I’ve never gone on a vacation without some forethought.  I  choose the destination and pack accordingly.  I also take enough money to allow me options once I arrive.  However, I never enjoyed vacations where too many things were preplanned.  And, it’s been that way with my life as well.

Of course, there is fore thought that goes into choosing a career, getting married, or having children, but beyond that initial “plan” there are no guarantees.  And so, I have learned to plan without a plan.  I plan for things to change.  I plan for surprises.  I plan to sometimes be disappointed and sometimes be pleasantly surprised.

Feeling Blessed To Be Alive

I come from a family burdened with heart disease and cancer.  My father died when I was in 7th grade, my mother when I was a brand new mom.  Since then, two brothers have passed away and one more brother had a severe heart attack and has had triple bypass surgery.  Add to all of that, my girl’s father gave up on life, choosing suicide, instead.

I need to simply be thankful for each day.  I know that I can not choose every path my life takes but I can choose what I do…today!  I choose to be happy.  I choose to accept life as it is.  I choose to reflect light.

I Choose To Breathe In Positive Thoughts

I produced this video during a time when I could have been depressed.  Instead, by some miracle, I found myself living on the edge of this beauty.  Some people, who live in this same apartment complex, have never stepped into this woods.  They say “It’s too hot!  There are so many mosquitos!”

I, on the other hand, chose to follow the paths and listen to the messages that were  there to guide my way.  If I hadn’t done that, I would never have seen the beauty that lived right outside my back door.

Today…Tomorrow…Yesterday

IMG_8473

Today…Tomorrow…Yesterday! What do I want to write about this morning? It’s interesting, when sadness or joy are not playing with me, there is a quiet in my brain; a dull almost lazy haze. Why does it take extremes to feel the energy of life? Why can’t this middle place be the most productive, the most inspiring time ever? I don’t need life to be thrilling or desperately sad, do I? I don’t want to always be out there at the end of the rope. But, now, here I sit, today, wondering “What is important enough to write about?”

I mean really, how many times can I describe how beautiful and smart my grandson is? How many times can I give an accounting of our time together (this week, we went to a sculpture garden and he hated it). How many times can I update this journal on my daughter’s wedding plans? (This week was the dress fitting and today we are polishing brass candle sticks). How many times can I write about my walks in the woods, the joy I feel from running into a deer along the way, the peaceful sense I get from simply walking and listening to the birds?

And why is it that this state, of neither too high nor too low, doesn’t last? It’s a prelude to something to come and I usually spend this time worrying that it’s going to be bad. So, this state of “calm” makes me restless! How can I enjoy it when what I do instead is spend the time with worry or guilt about something that might or already did happen.

What I need to do is find as much pleasure in this state as in that state of extreme. Love this place in my life for what it is. Empty is the wrong word. This place, in my life, is…free! That’s the word…FREE!

I am free of plans, worry, obligations, feelings of sadness, or despair, feelings of extreme elation, giddy silliness. I am simply FREE to ponder life. And so that is exactly how I intend to spend this moment. I am not going to spend it projecting worry on the future or feeling guilt about my past. I am going to spend it reflecting on the lessons of life and the beauty of my surroundings. I’m going to walk with appreciation for my family, my girls and their men, my grandson and soon to be new grandchild, for my sisters and my brother, for my people whom I believe to be friends. I will appreciate my life of good health, right now, and my ability to get out and enjoy it.

I am FREE to use this time to be productive. I don’t need to write a book or produce a piece of art. I can be productive by making healthy food choices and helping my daughter wash the bottles for her wedding, pay some bills and respond to emails. OR, I can use this time to read, to watch a movie, to walk and take pictures in the woods, to simply breathe in the warm summer air. It doesn’t matter, does it?

This space, in my life, is a gift.

And I will be present enough to simply say “Thank you”.

Gentle Spirit

IMG_4870
Be Gentle With Yourself

Be Gentle With Yourself

I walk the woods nearly every day. The deer know me. We look each other in the eye and I say, “It’s ok. I am a good person.” And then they stand and        wait while I take their picture. They are not afraid.

I walk carefully through their home, trying to be respectful of their surroundings. They, in turn, welcome me with that soft, gentle look.

In the books regarding the language of animals, it is said that the deer carry the message that we should be gentle with ourselves. I feel that sense when I look into their eyes. And as I walk on, I feel the message resonate through me. There is no reason for me to be hard on myself. I am just a humble being, here to carry out my life’s mission.

What Is My Mission?

Over time, I have wondered what exactly my mission was. Sometimes, I felt as though I was lost at sea,  helping others survive.  Is that my mission?  If so, then I often felt inadequate. With each failed attempt to be the person someone wanted me to be, I feel a sense of guilt, frustration, and anger.  I just want to do my life.

But, What Is My life?

And then, here I am greeted by the deer with this message to just be gentle with myself.

I take a deep breath and say, “Ok, ok.  I hear you.”  I will take it one step at a time.  I don’t need to know the answers to everything right now.  I can simply believe that things will happen as they are supposed to happen.  I will believe that I am already living the life I was sent here to live.

For right now, I need to embrace this life and allow me to be.