certainty

Authenticity because anything else is slow death

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A butterfly landed on my hand today while I sat in the car listening to the radio. For anyone who knows me, it’s a regular thing to just hang out in the car with my feet propped up. I suppose it reminds me that I’m never stuck anywhere. I’m here by choice and can leave whenever I choose.

Anyway, this butterfly spent well over three minutes poking at my fingers as if nectar would pour out of the tips. His antenna flipped forward, then back up,  and no matter how I moved my hand it didn’t flutter away.

Starstuffs, one of my favorite reference sites for animal totems, says this about butterflies:

“Major transformations and transmutations taking place, outcome is different than expected. Symbol of joy, color, gentleness, lightness, and change in life. Awakens us to dance on the winds of life, teaches that growth doesn’t have to be painful, allows us to discover the important issues in life for conscious transformation. Can you discern what is important right now? Don’t sweat the small stuff, be joyful and thankful for your blessings.”

More than the transformative message of this experience is a greater truth I’ve come to realize —

Inner peace is an active pursuit.

It takes a conscious effort to remove or ignore negativity, not just within but from others as well. When I allow outside opinions to be the barometer by which I determine my worth or change the core of who I am to suit the whims of someone else, I’m giving them power over me. More over, I’m giving them my peace.

The fragile peace I’d started to gain in my universe was nearly destroyed. It’s funny really, how the harsh words and condemnation of someone we love can cut so deep, can make us question our very character. And for a brief moment, I did. I sat crying in a puddle, wondering what happened over that weekend to make someone think I’d ever actively or passively seek to hurt anyone.

Then I realized something I’d said days before, “I won’t be anybody but myself. If you want me to be someone else I should stay home.”

Authenticity.

I’ve come to a peculiar time in my life where being anything other than myself is impossible. I carry my passion and peace everywhere and won’t hide how I feel or who I am.

It translates to my writing — actively, viscerally, authentically me. All the passion and purpose I possess bleeds in black and white just as certainly as it does in my real live life. And that was the problem.

During the course of a phone call, I heard the message loud and clear — it’s okay to myself in quiet intimate moments when no one was watching, but in the bright daylight of other’s view I had to be someone else.

And here’s where the new tagline for this site was born…

Authenticity because anything else is slow death.

Comparatively, I’ve learned very little in four decades on this planet. But a chance encounter with a butterfly reminded of the most important lesson. Inner peace is an active pursuit. It requires being myself unapologetically, recognizing the truth of my existence, removing negativity, accepting unconditional love and blessings, acknowledging my failures and successes as small steps towards a larger goal, and never using the opinions of others to measure my worth. It also requires a great deal of honest self reflection.

Nothing is more smothering than hiding a part of myself. Like the totem butterfly suggests I’ve reached a point of conscious transformation. In that quest, I’ve found my peace again. I’ve found love of good people. I’ve found love within myself. I will not sacrifice it for anyone, but I do hope to one day to craft a life with another soul actively seeking inner peace.

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Categories: belief, certainty, Choice, contentment, hope, love, relationships, self reflection, spirituality, the universes we create, writing | Tags: | 3 Comments

How to Not Apologize for Being Me

00 GIRL-BLOWING-BUBBLES

 

Yesterday I posted this on Facebook:

“I won’t hide or change who I am to serve the whims of someone else. I won’t lie to hide someone else’s untruths, but I also won’t tell everyone everything just because they think they deserve to know. This is my life. I try to live it with kindness, directness, love, and wholly unapologetic. Though I’m not always good at it, I’m working hard to become better, the very best version of myself. And that’s good enough for me.”

Let’s break this bubble down.

 

Permission, perception, acceptance, extreme diplomacy, compromise to a fault, insecurity, fear, apologizing for who I am and what I want.

 

I’ve lived the better part of 40 years in a state of…

“Is it okay with you that I want to be happy? Does it make you uncomfortable when I do <insert dream, goal, passion>? Are you proud of me now? Do you still like me?”

Pathetic. Yeah, I’ll call like it is.

My point is I’ve lived my life hyper-anxiety ridden because I worried about everyone else’s happiness, lifting everyone else up, compromising my ideals and, sometimes, morals to be accepted and loved. I desperately wanted permission from other people to live my life. I wanted respect. I wanted some insane form of puppy dog approval from my masters as if that was the litmus by which I’d find ultimate happiness.

Where did it get me?

Twice divorced mother of four with few people I could count on and no money in the bank to pay for a pack of gum, not to mention important things like say rent… or power… or maybe food.

It also put me in the deepest, darkest bitch of a hole. One so deep I’d actually considered checking out. Dude, I was making plans. Like who would take care of my kid and how to divide up my crap plans. Like measuring how much damage it would do to my kids versus how much damage I was doing to them by being their mother plans.

We’re talking serious freaking abyss of nothingness with no foreseeable way out, save one, and me posed at the ready to take ticket to somewhere better than here. Because, in that moment, anywhere was better than here.

What stopped me? One word, the quietest sound I’d ever heard, not even a whisper. 

No.

For the first time in my life I said it.

No.

 

Then I said it again, a loud hush of hot breath following closely behind.

No.

 

And finally I yelled it out loud into the emptiness of that crushing black place until I heard it echoing back.

 

Next I said another word.

Yes…

to my happiness.

Yes…

 

to giving myself permission to follow my dreams.

Yes…

 

to saying no to all the people who have an opinion about how I should live my life.

 

Here’s the thing, everyone has an opinion about how to live, but that perspective only applies to their life, not anyone else’s. That’s their truth, and I respect the choices they make for their universe. Why? By definition it’s their world, and I don’t have to pay their bills, or raise their kids, or wear their shoes. So, how the hell can I possibly know what’s right or wrong for them? I can’t.

The flip-side.

They can’t possibly know what’s right or wrong for mine. More than that, they don’t have permission to because this is my life. And this is its new doctrine:

 

  1. Don’t ask permission to be happy, but don’t walk all over other people to live my happiness.
  2. Expect respect, but also give it. The caveat is not allowing people in my life who disrespect me via their words and actions.
  3. Be kind always.
  4. Have compassion for those struggling, but don’t take on their struggles as my own. This is a particularly difficult thing for me because I want to save the world *dons Super Woman cape*, but I now recognize I can’t do anything for anyone unless I’m doing it for myself first.
  5. Say no more than I say yes because I’m not every woman and it’s not all in me
  6. Give myself permission instead of asking everyone else.
  7. Opinion isn’t fact.
  8. Stop being afraid of what other people think and do it anyway. (See #1 and #3)
  9. Accept responsibility for allowing people to behave poorly and disrespect me, then move on and stop allowing it.
  10. Always strive to be the very best version of myself.

 

Short and sweet, a list of personal commandments to live my life. These are my truths, born from years of experience, birthed from the joy and pain of four decades. I have no answers moving forward. The outline for my future is a cartoon sketch, which is bound to hold just as much laughter as tears. None of this will be easy, but all of it will be worth it.

And therein lies my ultimate truth.

Only I can craft my happiness and purpose.

Be certain it will involve lots of bubble blowing. 🙂

The questions I leave for you: What does your happiness look like? Are you living it? 

Categories: belief, certainty, Choice, heart, lettng go, life, love, mistakes, moving forward, pain, relationships, self reflection, the fear that binds us, the next step, the universes we create, what once was | Tags: | 7 Comments

Cerise Dawn

0 red dawn

* * *

Cerise dawn,
lawn still fresh with dew.
She withdrew to uncover
spades large enough,
their rough watercolor edges,
and smooth ledges worn by love;
all scenes she could not see.

Dug in,
she begins the task
to unmask stalemates
that bind her heart.
Another start, but no falter.
She’ll halter the opines
until the job is done.

Letting go,
walk slow to keep from tripping.
The ripping no longer sounds
like bugle calls at twilight,
No night to halt the day,
these memories stay intact,
but lack the shadow
pain once cast.

* * *

Healing for the mind… and heart… and soul. 🙂

Categories: behind the words, certainty, Choice, choosing faith, heart, hope, journey, lettng go, rebirth, scars, unconditional love | Tags: | Leave a comment

First Steps

“And  the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the  risk it took to blossom.”
~ Anais Nin

* * *

Pain.

We suppress it. Look for any possible means to avoid it. Some people choose drugs and alcohol, others throw themselves into love, while still others are addicted to chasing after it as a completely different type of escape.

I did everything I could to avoid feeling the pain of losing that relationship—threw myself into writing, created the entire illusion of a life, including temporary relationships that would dull it for a time. Sure, they were all very nice, and the life I’ve created is less of an illusion now, but the truth is I needed to feel the full unbridled emotions of loss in order to move forward.

We all need to mourn. For many, they never get the chance to say goodbye. The long slow transition from lovers to friends hadn’t allowed me the closure I needed to let go of the first to fully embrace the second. I do blame him for part of that. My repeated attempts to say, “This is the end of the romance we had” were met with opposition because in some ways he was never ready to let go either. But, and this may sound harsh, his selfishness in not allowing that final moment, that final kiss prolonged what should have been a faster transition.

There would have been pain either way, but at least there would have been closure too.

After lying in a puddle on the kitchen floor, trembling and sobbing, the white-hot stabbing pain in my chest became a dull ache. It’s not over completely, one day of mourning isn’t likely to bring finality to anything, but it’s a start—one that was a long time coming to bear.

Happiness and bliss are wonderful, and I’d like to say that we grow more from love than anything else, but we’re human. So I’m not going to lie to you. Pain, loss, grief, anxiety, fear—they’re all a part of the cycle of growth and life. We must dig deep to find the tools to deal with them, instead of burying everything in an endless cavern for fear we won’t survive. We’re stronger than that, and built to withstand the successions of death and growth that face us. It’s a fact of our existence that everything eventually ends.

We are then confronted with another fact—The Next Step.

Where do we go after challenging our demons? Up?

Do we wake to another sunrise, drag out of bed, and then fall down into slumber to start again? Yes… and no.

Well, after a bout of compression (down cycle) we then move into expansion… or at least we’re supposed to. Some people get caught in a Bi-polaresque growth/death scenario because they have yet to fully deal with the pain. It’s rapid and destructive and tends to pull people back repeatedly. As long as we’re imprisoned there, we’ll never reach the expansion (up cycle) part of the journey.

Now, I’m not saying that up cycles are all giggles and laughs, but what’s important is the emotional and spiritual growth that happens because of the new tools we learn. Better ways to tackle anxiety, facing a loss instead of hiding from it, accepting failure as a part learning a better way to do something, creating long-lasting relationships built on a basis of love and trust, living in a daily state of happiness because you’ve seen the darkest days and know that the sun will eventually rise. All of these build a foundation. In them, we find that life can be as remarkable or ordinary as we choose to make it.

Ordinary is fine. However, most people choose it not because they desire a generally calm state of being, but because they’re afraid of facing pain, loss, grief, anxiety, and fear. Hiding ourselves from the world won’t stop any of those things from finding us, and can actually contribute to extended compression cycles in which no growth occurs.

Remarkable takes less work than most people think, but requires greater risk—risk of heartache, of loss, of failure, of everything not turning out in a precisely calculated way. But some of the best things, the greatest blessings in my life happened by sheer accident. I didn’t seek them out, but was open enough to let them in when they appeared.

That’s the way the universe works, it’s random and beautiful and calculated and spontaneous all at the same time. We may not know what lies in wait around the next corner, but after facing the darkness and coming out alive… what do really have to fear and what can we gain by risking it all?

Categories: belief, certainty, Choice, choosing faith, heart, hope, journey, lettng go, loss, love, moving forward, relationships, taking risks, the fear that binds us, the next step | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Certain & Full

*

Grace bound

Not found, or lost

just tossed into humanity

A quick turn of clocks

tick tocks of phase

Center stage never ample

Its light too bold

for them to uncover

 

Cloud bound

Da Vinci’s sound, or silence

piece defiance collected

His turn of the clocks

still mocks the sage

Their page never ample

His riddles too bold

for them to discover

 

Rhapsody bound

Wings drown, or amplify

the mortality she hides

Her turn of the clocks

a flintlock ready to fire

Phoenix pyres always ample

Her rebirth too bold

for them to suffer

*

“And down the waterfall, Wherever it may take me…”

Categories: behind the words, belief, certainty, clocks, found, heart, hope, journey, moving forward, purpose, rebirth, the universe, time, unconditional love, wings | Tags: | Leave a comment

Melody, Stars, & Golden Barley

*

The golden tips of the barley grass now reach above the old worn fence posts. In the evening, when the sun shines just right I swear it looks like spun strands of honey. Even the bees buzzing around them seemed confused, but they flit through them trying to catch the sunlit treasure anyway.

I can’t imagine a more peaceful place.

The fire licks the log. Though resistant, its smoldering edges eventually succumb to ancient embers, still showing signs of life from the burning man she created the night before. The ash of which circles the old wheelwell in gray-white reverence.

And… I can’t imagine a more peaceful place.

When the sun finally falls beneath the misty mountains, a milk sky of stars begin to form. Their twinkle is no map to some distant land. No, they’ve already led these weary travelers to their final destination. We lay beneath them, pointing out the constellations… or making up our own… because this sacred land can only be found by those who know the stars never move, but stay constant and fixed even when the largest of their kind come out to greet the day.

Still… I can’t imagine a more peaceful place.

The soft melody playing in the background dronws out a passing train. Its clickety-clack reminds us that adventure is a steel track away and waiting for us to venture down it. The knowledge soothes us, but fails to move us because we’ve seen that world. Its hustle and bustle isn’t suited for hearts that find more beauty in the twined flight of hawks overhead than the patchwork of cars roaring by.

Did I mention…? I can’t imagine a more peaceful place.

He gets the laundry while she sits next to me sketching another masterpiece. Soon he’ll find the words to describe his latest adventure. I wait patiently, watching the his long distant gaze into the now dying flames. I know he sees something hidden within them, but he’s not ready to share those secrets. So, again I write of the melody, and stars, and golden barley, and passing trains.

A more peaceful place I can’t imagine.

*

“What with all my expectations long abandoned
My solitary nature notwithstanding…”

I said it, I meant it… then, now and always.

 

Categories: answers, belief, certainty, choosing faith, contentment, found, patience, relationships, secrets, the universe, unconditional love | Tags: | Leave a comment

My Hope for You

*

I once wrote that a heart is like the universe; an expanse so great that it never fills. You can place the stars, the planets, and the sun within it and still there’s room for more.

The stars are those people who have touched our lives. Some remain, while others pass through like a dream, but each has left a stardust trail in our souls.

The planets are the people who live in our everyday: mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, companions, and friends. They are large, ever-present forces revolving around us with evolving love. They laugh, cry, and sit with us through every solar storm ripping our universe apart.

The sun—well now, that’s an important part of our universe. It helps to light the darkest parts of our souls, though few have found that elusive unconditional love.

Make no mistake; the sun isn’t always a boyfriend, girlfriend, lover, wife or husband. No, the sun is that one person, who—even in their worst moments—still has light to share with you. They can put aside pain and frustration to share their light of wisdom and knowledge with you. We all need a sun.

As with the physical universe, everything within the heart can be considered matter.

The thing about matter is that it eventually breaks down. Never completely leaving, matter reorganizes itself to become something new. Sometimes, its energy filled with emotion that allows us to grow. Sometimes, it evolves to become an entirely different organism. In some instances, matter journeys on to other universes where it enriches everything it comes in contact with, but the impact of its stay with us will never dissipate.

Whatever the orbit and time with us, we are forever changed by the people who enter our lives. We can mourn their absence when they move on. Or we can celebrate the light and love they introduced into our universe; becoming better people, whether we know it or not, for the time we spent together.

My hope for you on this Valentine’s Day is that you celebrate love—past and present—with an open and unconditional heart. Let go of the pain and frustration of lost loves; and know, that the universe is an ever-expansive, never-filling space within your heart. There’s always room for one more star, one more planet, one more step towards hope and love.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day & *Heart Hugs*

Categories: belief, certainty, choosing faith, heart, hope, relationships, stars, the universe, unconditional love, Valentine's Day | Tags: | Leave a comment

Pretty Dreams

When the walls come crashing down around you, your first instinct is to hold onto everything else that makes sense. You reach for something that seems solid—only to find it’s actually a shadow.

The initial reaction is surprise.

Such care and love went into building each layer, how could it possibly not exist? The foundation felt so firm to the heart, at least, in the quiet moments when the world stopped spinning.

The reality is no matter how much you put into building something, if the other person isn’t willing to give back, then you really didn’t create anything at all. It’s a figment of a relationship, a pretty dream, just like the stories we write.

Still, you hold onto the pretty dream because it’s familiar. So, even when the words “I’m done” come out of your mouth, you rearrange the world to give it one more shot. That’s when the truth becomes clear like the morning fog burning off the ocean when the sun comes up. In the end, everyone else is still more important than the want or need they claim is everything.

With all that lies around your feet, it’s the straw that will bring the mountain tumbling down. Or so you think.

The truth is—you’re strong than you might believe.

There’s only one thing left to do now: leave the keys by the sofa you spent so many long nights laughing on, leave the ring on the chair where he sits to write whispers from the universe, and take one long look around before walking away.

Then spend the weekend in a quiet cabin in the woods drinking wine, writing, and remembering that—in order to give to someone else, you must first take a moment for yourself.

Categories: certainty, heart, lettng go, life, love, messages, purpose, relationships, the next step, tomorrow, writing | Tags: | 2 Comments

The Music

 

Belief isn’t something you can fake. We’ll see it right behind the eyes. It’s an unwavering light that makes passerby’s stop for a moment and smile. No cloud cover can dim it’s approach because belief pierces even the darkest day. It’s stronger than the words I write and screams out louder than thunder. If it were a wave, it would roll across the face of the earth and wash all doubt away.

If you have it nothing I can say will change it. If you don’t each pointed word will sway you like the branches of a willow tree. I’ll hear the rustling even before I’ve finished speaking. Now I’m not talking about belief in God. Although, the same rules apply. I’m talking about belief in a dream that’s larger than you.

My last post was about believing in hope again. Actually, for those who know me, it went much deeper than a whimsical dream. See, I’ve never had a problem seeing the sunny side of the street. Although, I can’t say I always live there, I certainly have the address down. It’s been more difficult to catch the light these days. I could blame it on my oldest and my ex, but somehow that feels hollow. What they did cut into my belief system deeper than any preacher could. Once I found my way past the betrayal and pain, I realized that sometimes you have to slice through everything you believe so there’s room to grow. Painful as epic life changing events can be there’s no substitute that will make you stand up and say “Oh hell, screw it” faster.

I don’t know where this is going. Maybe that’s just about the right place to be. How much can we actually control anyway? We might just be those feathers in Forest Gump catching a breeze, searching for a good place to rest a while. Or maybe we’re that plastic bag on the side of the street being dragged through puddles and ripped apart by the elements. I like to think we’re all little bits of dandelions blown into the air by small children playing in some cosmic garden…and giggling.

I suppose it doesn’t really matter because my beliefs don’t rattle or shift even when the ground below is slowly sinking. They can take my pride (only gets me in trouble anyway) and my money (yeah, I’m laughing too) and my ability to construct fanciful adventures (I know, the tally stands at one, but I’m working on it), but they will never, ever take away my belief in me.

Categories: answers, belief, certainty, deliverance, Drive by life, freedom, love, messages, moving forward, purpose | Tags: | 1 Comment

Life Well-Lived

Silence is our gift. We knew that once when the earth was still young enough to hold wonder. In the darkness of night, the crickets chirped and leaves rustled to make us aware of the quiet. When the chimes ring, I remember for a moment what newness feels like. The stars shine bright against a moonless sky. I sense life ancient and unnamable in their twinkle. It is then I know without doubt I am connected to what came before and what will be after.

So often we talk about living in the now. While such thoughts carry merit, I wonder how often we’re disconnected from our past and future. Life is a cycle of movement. At the second you finish reading this sentence the words will join the past. Does that mean they are no longer worthy of your interest?

My point here is simple. Each moment connects to another to create a stream….in it we laugh or cry or live. Because it ends or has yet to happen doesn’t mean that the value is lost. If we are to be the sum of our parts then every experience, past-present-future, collide to become who we are. In a universe of change it’s vital to know where you’ve been, to understand where you are, and prepare for where you’ve yet to venture.

Every experience will shape you whether you have a chance to live it or not. We all know this life leads to one place. It is the same destination for every person no matter his or her rank. So in the end it isn’t some glorious race to finish first, but to finish well. A life well-lived will be remembered if only by a single person. Can any of us say that isn’t worth it?

Categories: answers, belief, certainty, choosing faith, heart, messages, purpose | Tags: | 2 Comments

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