life

Why Size Matters.

Women will give coy smiles and giggle, then say, “It’s not about size, it’s how you use it.” But that’s a lie.

Because a heart closed by fear, pessimism, and doubt can’t be used, not fully.

Let’s go Dr. Seuss for a minute with the Grinch.

00 grinch

The dude had serious issues beyond eye twitching and dressing his dog up like a reindeer. Why? Because the Whos down in Whoville were celebrating life. Okay, Christmas, but there’s a bigger picture here. They were happy and he wasn’t, so they weren’t allowed to be happy.

This goes back to heart.

The narrator cleverly inserts: “But I think that the most likely reason of all, may have been that his heart was two sizes too small.”

00 grinch heart

(CSI-like Exhibit A)

Closed or shrunken hearts can happen over time. Let’s face it, life isn’t always happiness and giggles. Cycles of unhealthy relationships are handed down from generation to generation like keepsakes. Moreover, if you’re not willing to participate in the negativity and codependency, then your punishment is withheld affection and love. Yes, love is used as a punishment in these dynamics.

But people have the power to smash the crap out of those cycles and make different choices.

I’ve written it before but it bears repeating:

The heart is like a universe, incomprehensibly vast and continually growing to accept new situations and people; never filling up because it’s endless.

While it can’t be filled, it can close off or get smaller.

How to stop it?

Well, there’s no ultimate manifesto of love, but I have a few ideas that are working for me.

  1. Only allow positive things and people in. This isn’t a call to arms to block out everyone who might be having a bad day, but it is a suggestion to love people who are chronically negative from a distance.
  2. Watch your words. Pay close attention to what you say, think, and write. If the majority of it isn’t positive, then stop and change it. Bring your thoughts and words back to hope. Evaluate the negativity, then turn it around to see the lesson in a situation or how to change it altogether.
  3. Make a conscious choice to take responsibility for your own personal happiness. Do, say, live the things that make you happy, and stop doing the things that don’t.
  4. Walk away. If someone is committed in a Grinch-like way to arguments, fighting, gossip, and misunderstanding everything you say, then pull up stakes. Life isn’t a battle. You don’t have to prove a point or argue one. Save your sanity and peace, then slip out the backdoor.
  5. While I’m on the subject of gossip… Don’t.  Gossip is an ugly habit and hurts people. Period. So embrace the love and turn the conversation to how your kid picked every flower in the garden because he thought it was Mother’s Day, then destroyed the kitchen making soggy cereal and glitter laden cards. Everyone will chuckle, and you’ll all feel better.
  6. Be honest about what you want, who you are, and do it unapologetically. Again, not a screw you to the world. A simple to say: this is what I want for my life, and I respect what you want for yours. Sometimes, people don’t want the same things. Sometimes people choose to accept who you are and sometimes they don’t. The ones who support, understand, and respect your choices (and you) will stick around. The others will lose interest and find something or someone else to occupy their time. Not good or bad, not a statement about your worth or theirs, but a sincere realization that not everyone will get you. They don’t have to because it’s not their life.
  7. Control is an illusion, so don’t waste time or energy trying to master it. We have control over one thing – our choices. Not the consequences, not other people, not anything else that exists in the world. Only the choices we make. Take your time, choose as wisely as possible, then learn from everything that happens afterwards. If it gets totally screwed up, then make a different choice next time, but don’t wallow in what ifs. That’s a quick road to depression, anxiety, and crippling fear. This is 40 plus years speaking here. Again, save your sanity.
  8. Life is an adventure, so live it. Sometimes I go out and enjoy the world, but most days I’m perfectly content with doing that in my own backyard. If skydiving is your adventure, then do it. Just don’t ask me to go with you. I don’t jump out of perfectly good planes.
  9. Peace is an active pursuit, find it daily. Whether you’re into meditation or vegging to music or driving dirt roads with the windows down, take a moment each day to actively pursue things that put your soul at ease. Peace isn’t going to come find you, you have to search it out. As you remove negativity from your life, it’ll get easier to find, but it still takes conscious effort to live until it’s a natural state of being.
  10.  Remember your heart is a universe and big enough to love the entire world. Do you have time to love the entire world? Probably not, but my point is – just like when a new baby is born – hearts and families expand to accommodate one more person. It’ll continue to do it for the rest of your life. New family members, friends, and even strangers on the street, there’s no end to how many people you can love. And just like the Grinch’s heart, yours will grow and grow until it’s nearly bursting out of your chest. But don’t worry, it won’t pop or anything. It’s custom made by some cosmic force to be pliable and stretchy.

This is you on love, only maybe not so green and minus the Santa suit. 🙂

00 grinch heart grows

 (CSI-Like Exhibit B)

Is this going to change the world?

Maybe, maybe not.

Can it change your world?

Well, that’s for you to decide. All I know for certain is I’ve been traveling this path for a while and slowly putting these into practice. Sometimes I really suck at it, but I’m getting better. And in the process, I’m living happiness and peace in a way I never have before. When I screw up, I make a different choice. When things start flowing, I keep doing them. Things like lying in the backyard and hanging with my family while watching the sun set. If that isn’t pure love and happiness, then I don’t know what is.

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Categories: allowing the positive, conscious choices, happiness, heart, honesty, journey, life, love, patience, peace, relationships, self reflection, spirituality, the next step, what matters to you, what once was | Tags: | 1 Comment

The Illusion of Separation

 

00 holding hands

 

 

Illusions are easy to live in, especially for an optimist. And the world desperately conspires to give them breath with the idea we can all get along. Why not? We’re all the same… on the inside.

Well, that’s an illusion too, isn’t it?

Society is hell bent on creating separation. It gives people another illusion – that of power. Countries and social circles hunger for it, and will use any means, be it hate or love, to control a little speck of the universe. They force people to defend their rights, defend their very character, even in the face of those who love them.

Twelve years ago, the country found a new enemy, but they didn’t stop at the faceless “terror” living thousands of miles away. Much like the Japanese American interment camps during WWII, our own citizens became the demons we fought. Suspicion, targeting, blackballing; all it becoming the norm, forcing otherwise innocent people to prove they were actually innocent. Guised as protection, the powers that be used this fire to enact several laws and create agencies to further tight their hold on the country, thus expanding their power.

McCarthyism in the early to mid 1950’s is yet another example. Many writers, directors, and actors as well as everyday citizens lost entire careers, entire families ripped apart because of finger pointing and rumor. It pitted neighbor squarely against neighbor in  a quest to prove personal innocence. Again, suspicion and fear became the norm and tool by which “order” and conformity was maintained.

But we’re more evolved now, right?

If society wasn’t hell bent on creating separation, I might say yes. But power and control are mighty tempting things. The lust for them lives in the eyes of society, and it will find the one perceived threat to its sovereignty,  then ban together and point fingers to divert attention from its end goal.

The concept of separation and the lust for power is a heavy theme in my novel, Ring Binder – The Binding of Twelve, because I believe books should be entertaining but also incorporate themes that break illusion.

Allison grew up in a small town plagued by rumors about her family. The peculiar behavior of her grandmother Shanley created the perfect target for a town that thrived on drama and separation. Of course, Allison didn’t help the situation by choosing not to follow social norms for the sake of getting along. She isolated herself from ridicule and sideways glances, adding to the tension. But the grab for social rankings and the separatist attitude of the majority of town’s residence seemed petty and childish at best.

When Allison ventured into the world of her people this dynamic was magnified. The ruling council of the Mutaní lusted for power and control, maintaining both by encouraging suspicion and unease. Again, the rules of their society served one purpose – separation. By preying on people’s fear of the Iska, soul feeding demons who hunted them, the council effectively manipulated the will and minds of the many to accomplish their end goal, which created a cycle of death killing entire generations.

This phenomenon isn’t limited to governments. It trickles down to infect social circles and even families. When we buy into the illusion of us versus them, when we gossip and spread rumors to defame another simply to maintain power and control over the people in our universe, then we become the monsters of separation. And while I still believe everyone, despite the individual and internal battles we fight, can find a way to get along, it’s difficult to tolerate energy in my universe that thrives on making people choose sides or creates division for the sake of maintaining power.

So what’s the alternative? I’m not sure.

How can we put an end to the illusion that we need to separate into camps? Hell, if I know.

My best option at the moment is respect people from a distance until we find common ground; until everyone realizes we have this one life, this one planet we share, and none of us will ever have power or control over it. At least, not for too long.

I leave you with the opening quote in Ring Binder from Samuel Lonary, shifter and Binder trainer.

“Longevity has given me the ability to look past the common struggles of life. I’ve seen power rise with the dawn only to be reclaimed by darkness. In the reach for control, the one constant is the moon. Pulling the tide with each orbit, the moon reaches into the hearts of men to touch them with power and insanity. For centuries, the Mutaní drew upon its light for ascension. We sought connection to the objects on a spiritual plane, but in this quest, the power corrupts. As our focus turned from the preservation of life to the sole saviors of humanity, the Mutaní forgot the lessons of history. All power is borrowed, even ours. Eventually, it too will set as the moon rises.”

 

 

Categories: freedom, lettng go, life, questions, self reflection, spirituality, the fear that binds us, the universes we create, themes, what once was, writing | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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

Measures of success… & other launch day realities

0 Best seller

On the verge…

Of success? Maybe.

Of worldwide recognition? It could happen.

But one book does not a writing career make.

I had no illusions about my first book launch. It’s not a matter of confidence, but one of realism. This is a damn tough business. Editors, publishers, covers, formatting, constant digital interaction—all of it takes time and energy and money. Most of which I never seem to have enough of, but somehow manage anyway.

No book is an overnight bestseller and it takes several more, combined with many years, for a series to grab a readership. I know the numbers. I’ve seen the stats. The reality is stark and unyielding, but it’s not impossible and it’s no longer intimidating.

This one book is proof, mostly to myself, that I can do this. Now it’s time for the next step.

The thing that most people don’t know is I launched this book with rotating internet outage and on the brink of my power being shut off. Yep, that’s right. I’m staring at the notice of imminent outage scheduled for the 31st of July. I’m short on my rent for tomorrow, and my fridge is nearly bare. My life is either on the threshold of something big, or a complete collapse. 

Yet, I’m not broken or hopeless or particularly depressed. Because this is life. We claw our way through, chasing dreams or building them with the hopes and intention to be greater than circumstances. Everyone is experiencing their own level of struggle, and one is not larger than another. Our demons, whether internal or external, only have the power we give them. It’s not about triumph over life, but a slow and steady commitment to living through it while still recognizing the moments of joy and connection.

I own little of worth, but the things I cherish aren’t objects of financial value. Over the past five years, I’ve watched my children grow into amazing and kind adults. I’ve made genuine and life-long friendships. I’ve found people who know the parts of me that huddle in the corner for fear of losing everything, and the parts that take on the world. Still they believe in me, even when I don’t believe in myself.

Sometimes I screw everything up. Sometimes I get in over my head and am too prideful to ask for help. Sometimes I don’t have a single answer and wish people would stop asking me questions.

In fact, I’m not exactly sure what to do at this moment.

But in the face of acknowledging I know absolutely nothing, the Universe gave me an answer… or solution… or a peaceful silence that is an answer all by itself.

So, yes, my first launch was quiet. Almost ninja-like. Because I have no illusions that one book is the cure. But I took another step forward, and persistence is the only absolute certainty I know.

 

***

Ring Binder Cover V3

Ring Binder is now available on Amazon kindle.

Categories: answers, belief, life, mistakes, not giving up, questions, relationships, tomorrow | Tags: , | 10 Comments

Crossings

Disquiet

hubris and lassitude

don’t sooth their rendition

the trinkets wallet-bound

though sound, grant little warmth

while, his torch only serves

to light a dim sign

this time has passed.

 

In the distance

where sea meets sky

the chariot flies soundly

winged triumph on still waters

as denizens find footing

on rock-ridden shores

the score of fury

a flurry, now tamed

 

Multifarious

hidden talents

salient in their reach

each given without cause

the flaws of big-heartedness

a barrier to this trek

yet she will not back down

heart-bound to love

 

Of sinew and bone

lone rider of swans

the dawn of chariots

drops to distant horizons

as the raucous caws

from gnashing claws

falls deafly behind them

Categories: heart, in the cards, journey, life, love, purpose, swans, the universe | Tags: | 3 Comments

A Message of Love

*

It’s an illusion, the glimmered mirage reflected in watery eyes doesn’t dip past the surface, but the rocks you skip aren’t meant to sink. They skim in rippled jumps, each barely tapping the water as it reaches for the other shore. Exhausted from the journey, they eventually succumb to the pull and sink.

Before you watch them disappear beneath the waves, another rock is hand ready and held tight.

The breeze carries a message through a flowing curtain of willows. They weep for a world-weary heart hardened by time and a touch of life. Desperate to catch your eye, the branches wave frantically, whipping just above your head. When the rustle grows, you glance in annoyance cursing the disruption. The branches, drained from the effort, release the call to let it settle back along the wind.

But life is persistent; it turns to the nightingale, hoping that the sun-brushed melody melts past the iced prison walls surrounding your heart.

The nightingale sings, on the water’s edge, fighting past cellophane wings to catch your ear. His little heart beats a foreign rhythm of love. The song drifts past an unwilling soul wrapped comfortably in its loneliness. As he prepares to expend his final breath, you turn to throw another stone and stir the water with a splash. Off he flies in search of new ears to capture.

If you paused, the absence would be glaring, but the urge to continue skipping overwhelms the senses. So you throw another stone, hoping this one will make it to the other side. The frustration builds as each one falls faster beneath the deep indigo waters than the last.

Realization has yet to take hold, but life is persistent.

It compels the lazy clouds to gather. A flashing blanket of white extends across the sky. When it begins to cry, you feel the first drop roll across your cheek. You brush it away without a thought. The first drip safely in hand, you return to task. Scowling at the heavens, you warn them in brief sharp glances.

A deep voice rumbles across the hills. It grows to a deafening roar as you scream out for silence. Undeterred, the sky opens. In typed drips on the water’s surface, it faithfully sends the message of love. As it soaks through, you feel the warmth dip past the skin.

Your face turns skyward letting each one roll down rose touched cheeks.

It continues to flow as the stones drop down into the moss-covered soil below. Finally, the words pool right below the neck, through brittle walls, into that space emptied by loneliness.

…because life is persistent and all it needs is time.

Categories: answers, belief, choosing faith, heart, life, messages, pain, patience, purpose, scars, unconditional love | 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

Crossroads

Crossroad casualties

abnormalities of smart enough

to show up, too young to care

warning flares will set

the heading straight

just wait to find the limit

 

Inane carriage proposals

marked traces of reservation

behind sedimentary fear

so clear the toss of forever

he’ll never wander there

still far too young to care

 

disillusioned renders

lenders of the immediate

but not a moment more

the core of volatility

swollen with instability

a heart that stays at war

Categories: Drive by life, heart, lettng go, life, love, memories, messages, relationships | Tags: | 3 Comments

Stars and Scars

Drop racked,

pulled back and forth;

screw true north

and written in the stars.

These scars crumble

while she fumbles the standoff.

 

Ripped tides,

skyward cries in blues;

Who makes the rules

that no one seems to follow,

when torment swallows the soul

with rope-choked originality?

Forget the banality of structure,

that ruptures what it feeds.

The knowledge that you seek,

still reeks of self-absorption.

Categories: Drive by life, heart, life, love, messages, mistakes, pain, purpose, scars, stars, writing | Tags: | Leave a comment

In Time

*

Time bought and sold

as if they have a choice

no voice to kill the clatter

 

In stair cells, children wait

for their clocks to start

jolted hearts of the almost dead

 

Outside, minute men steal

what they can’t extort

pill short, never enough to go around

 

Seconds count down

in hourglass winks

most sink with all-in wagers

 

In the end, time reapers

catch their man

the sand has finally run down

Categories: clocks, for sale, freedom, heart, hourglass, life, messages, taking risks, time | Tags: | 2 Comments

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