Words – That Make Up A Life

There’s a book in me, waiting to be written; one book. Probably, everyone has one book. I’m thinking that maybe we all have an obligation to write it down. We, each, have a right to say our words, record our thoughts, share our life with the world. Everyone, everywhere has a story. I’m going to tell mine. I need to tell mine. Something inside me, all around me is telling me to say these words. 

It’s time. 

Stop making excuses. Get the words down. What’s stopping you? Fear? Haven’t we talked about this? Don’t you know that fear just holds you back? Just write! Write like there really is no tomorrow. Tell your kids all the words you want to share, just in case. Tell your friends what they meant to you. Tell your ex-husbands (living and passed) that they played such an important role in your life. Tell your parents, even though they are long gone, that you forgive them, that you understand now. Tell the world your words. One book.  Just one book.  But you need to write it.  It won’t write itself!

Ok, so here we go again. It seems like I’ve tried to start so many times. Once, I even got so far into it that I did a little research on how to publish. That was the last time, actually, but every time something happens that makes me close the file; save it…but stop.

Words. They are just words.  And I tell myself that my words are not so special. My words are no more important than another person’s words so why do I think that my words should be printed and bound for others to see? Why do I believe someone would  actually read it? Why?

I’m going to tell you why.

Guided Memories

Over the past several years, I feel that my reflections have seemed guided. I have written about my life experiences and then, through the act of writing, I have gained new insights, seen my thoughts play out a different way. Heard a voice…come from somewhere; inside my head. 

And with the help of that voice, anger turned to understanding. Frustration became moments to remind myself to just breathe and go with the flow. And joy…joy has become delicious…savored because all too soon, as I have learned with anger and frustration; it, too, passes.

I have learned that I can not expect life to go the way I plan. In fact, that is the one thing I can count on. If I don’t expect things to happen, than I am not so disappointed in some results, or afraid of what might happen.  Instead, I am far more excited about the unexpected gifts.

It’s been the act of writing that has become my meditation, my muse. Words flow into my thoughts as I write. Sometimes, these thoughts seem to be coming from someone other than me. How else can I explain what happened when my anger towards the relationship I had with my mother turned into an “aha” moment of understanding and compassion? How else can I explain the fact that I found life lessons inside every hurtful memory of two failed marriages? And how else can I explain how painful it was to have my daughter and her family move so far away but, somehow, through writing and long meditative walks in a woods, I found the strength to become her strength again.

Writing. Every day. Three pages. Hand written.  That’s what it is now, but in the beginning, it was simply tapping away on a computer; writing what flowed from my brain onto the page. And then, pausing every once in awhile to look out the window or stroll through the woods to see the beauty of life and to breathe.

So, my plan, now, is to share my thoughts, my life, my words with others. I know that they’re just my words. I know that everyone has their own words. But maybe, just maybe, if I write mine, others will see their words as well. And maybe, just maybe, others will be able to take a break from their anger or frustration, anxiety, or sadness, to stroll to a window, or take a walk in the woods to see the beauty in their life, too. 

This time, I will start at the woods and work my way backwards. This time, I will start at that window. And I will share the words that filled my head, the words that guided me, step by step, to today.  I’m going to try, day by day, to share this view of life.  There’s something in me right now that believes that now is the time.

So, hang on.  More is on the way! 

 

Slow Down. Wait For Me!

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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.

 

 

 

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.

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

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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.

For Me

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I walk the woods
in silence,
letting my thoughts
lead the way.

Today,
my eyes are drawn
to someone’s
abandoned bouquet.

They’re delicate
in shades of
purple
and white.

I think
they’re simply
beautiful
as they rest there
in the evening light.

Who were they
meant for?
And why were they
just left in this tree?

I let the answer be
simple.
They must have been
for me!

Finding Inspiration In A Rock

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I Am A Rock

For a few years, now, I’ve been on  a journey to “find myself”.  I know, people used to think that’s something for the young and foolish but when I was young, I didn’t have the time to find myself.  Now, I do.

So, currently, I am engrossed in a book entitled “The Artist’s Way – A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity“, by Julia Cameron.  I am actively participating in multiple, suggested exercises, feeding my brain with positive affirmations, unblocking negative thoughts and fears – things that block creativity.

One of many, simple activities was to go on a rock hunt. Search for rocks that stand out  for some reason.  She said that they were, then, to serve as “small constant reminders of creative consciousness”. That’s all… Hmmm. Ok.

So, off I went to find rocks that spoke to me. I walked and walked, looking for the first rock that stood out. It took a while! I was, finally, drawn to one but it was snug in the ground. The earth was muddy and wet.  I wasn’t inclined to kneel down in that mud to dig out a rock,  so  I tried nudging it with the toe of my shoe. No luck. After several failed attempts, I noticed a rock quietly sitting right next to the stubborn one. I picked it up and looked at it. The first word that came to mind was “Ease”. While I was trying to force one out of the ground, this one had been sitting there all along, just watching and waiting. Maybe out of frustration…or gratitude, I put it in my pocket and moved on.

The next one I chose seemed to, actually, jump out at me.  It was far from pretty or unusual but it had this rugged exterior and, instantly, the word that jumped into my mind was “Toughness”.

Then, I knew that I wanted to find one by the waterfall.   That water, surging over piles of rocks, to me, stands for “Power”.

When I returned with my rocks, I simply put them on a piece of paper wrote the words “Ease”, “Toughness”, and “Power”. They sat there, trying to be my “creative consciousness”, but they needed further definition.  So out came this:

Ease: Life doesn’t need to be hard. We don’t need to force things. Sometimes the things we’re searching for are right there in front of our eyes; almost calling out, “Hey, over here. Choose me. Choose me.”

Toughness: Rugged exterior. Can hold up under pressure but not so tough that it can’t be influenced by weather. Still it survives.

Power: Water powers over rocks.  The rocks try with all of their massive weight, to hold it back, but they can’t.  And so, they concede.  They let the water rush over them, and accept change as part of their life.

As I reread the book, I understand that the author is constantly reminding us to think about personal affirmations –

“An affirmation is a positive statement, of (positive) belief,

and if we can become one-tenth as good at positive self-talk

as we are at negative self-talk,

we will notice enormous change.” (p.34)

I looked, once again, at my rocks and my descriptions of them and I realized that these were indeed affirmations for me!

Ease: Life doesn’t need to be hard. Things shouldn’t be forced. Perhaps,  the things I’m searching for are right in front of my eyes. And I realize that I am that rock; that rock that’s just sitting there waiting for my turn, watching while other rocks are picked because they’re prettier, more interesting, more intriguing.  “Hey, what about me?  I’m right here.  Choose me.”

Toughness: I might have a rugged exterior. I know how to hold up under pressure. But, I am not so tough that I can’t be warn down by the weather. Still, I will survive.

Power: I am the rock, at a waterfall, using all of my power to hold back the water.  Yet, no matter how hard I try, I can’t.  While I feel so strong and mighty, I have no strength when that water rushes over me.  So I just let it cleanse me.  Over time, it wears down my hard exterior and then, once again, I become something new.

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So go find your rocks.  Let them inspire you, too.

Life is Fragile. Handle With Care

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It’s spring time. New life is popping up all around us. It’s delicate.  We need to handle it with care.

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“Be gentle”, we tell children.  “Soft touch.”

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Sometimes, though, when something new is happening, even we, as adults, forget to be careful, and accidentally step on this delicate new life.

But, it’s not just new life that should be protected.

All life is fragile.

Any life can be, quickly, broken with a single step.

Snowdrops

So before you step on someone’s life, remember:

Watch where you’re stepping.

Tread lightly.  

Be gentle.  

Soft touch.

Life is fragile.

Handle it with care.

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