Someday I I hope to be more like a tree.
Silent and beautiful and able to bend with each storm that life may bring.
Resilient and strong and able to stand tall once the winds of change finally die down.
Growing wiser and more beautiful with each passing year.
Remaining grounded in the knowledge that it’s roots go much deeper than the eyes can see.
Unbreakable because it moves in the direction of the wind, courageous enough to not resist.
Each day that goes by I realize more and more that everything I once believed about people and life couldn’t have been further from the truth. When I step out of the part of myself that likes to judge I see the truth in a whole new light. I used to believe that people just loved to find fault. They loved to stick their noses in other people’s business and just judge, judge, judge. We hold grudges and we place blame and we hold others to such a high standard that no one in our bitter eyes will ever be fully worthy of our love and respect.
Now, I see things differently. When I come across someone who speaks ill of someone or disowns and disassociates from someone who was once important to them, my heart grows sympathetic and sad. Making ourselves believe that we are a better person than another is just a defense mechanism. The truth is we are all human. We all do things that hurt others. We have all done something that we regret or are ashamed of. I heard a song the other day and the lyrics went something like this: Sometimes I feel like a clown who can’t wash off my makeup. How true is that? We do things and say things and then in time we believe people see us for the embarrassing thing we did that caused us so much shame. Sometimes they actually do. I say this, you can wash off the makeup. You can make no apologies and accept every single aspect of yourself. Be proud of every layer, every decision, every triumph, every mistake, all of it. We can’t pick and choose which parts we want others to see. We have to stand up for who we are and forgive ourselves for the mistakes we have made. I have really come to realize it is those who have not learned to love their whole self that go around criticizing and judging everyone else. It’s because they cannot look at themselves open and honestly that they project that judgement onto others. Forgive yourself for not being perfect and forgive others as well. Love the parts that you try and cover up and accept those parts in others too.
When you can live life with no apologies and stop hiding behind masks, and stop being who others believe you should be, the freedom you feel is amazing. No one has any power over you anymore when you accept all of yourself and love yourself instead of choosing judgement. Imagine, if someone looks so critically at all you do, what do you think their voices tell them about themselves? Be bigger, be better and show even the toughest critics love and acceptance. Maybe if you are kind to them they will learn to be kind to themselves too.
There is power in knowledge and one of the most important gifts you can give yourself and others is self acceptance and self love. Love the parts of you that you are ashamed of and watch the growth. Have sympathy for the parts of you that judge and watch your heart grow bigger as it learns to love. We are always growing and evolving. Don’t be the one that stops the whole process for yourself. That would be a waste of time and life. We have been led to believe that when we do not like something we can return it and get our money back. Guess what, there is no store that exists where we can return the parts of ourselves that we cannot accept. It is only when we learn to practice acceptance and compassion for our whole self that we are blessed enough to extend that to others as well. Remember, be bigger and be better and those around you will be better because of it too.
Here’s a funny little story about indecision and what a waste of time it is. I was sitting home a little while ago thinking I wanted to go to Starbucks for a while and read and then head next door to yoga to stretch because my muscles are really sore. The whole ride over I kept telling myself how I should have sat by my pool to read because it is such a beautiful day and that I am too sore for yoga at all today. So, I pull in and walk to the door to see a sign that reads Starbucks closed due to power failure.. That is the moment I wanted a coffee and a yoga class more than anything. Is it possibly true that when we cannot have something we want it more? Life played a little joke on me today but I was smarter. I drove to a different Starbucks and I am hopeful that in an hour the power will be restored and the door to yoga class will be unlocked and ready to invite me in. Sometimes life is silly and we have no choice to watch and laugh. Note to self: make a decision and move on. Don’t waste precious time questioning if it was the right one.
Some mornings are just perfect. The birds are singing, the sun is shining and even if you try and fight it you can’t help but feel good inside. I fell asleep with the waterfall on my pool still running so now as I lay here starting my day, I am listening to the soothing sound of running water in the background. These are the moments you wish you could bottle up and save for a rainy day when the clouds inside of you become one with the clouds in the sky. But today, at least for now, there are no clouds. There are the sounds and sights of nature that remind me to take notice of the beauty all around me.
Remember, actions speak louder than words. You can recite the most beautiful words but if your actions are ugly, what will be heard?
You can tell someone over and over how much you love them but if you treat them like they are unimportant what will they hear?
You can tell someone they are your whole world, but if you do not allow them to be the center of it, how will they feel?
We sometimes use words to cover up the truth, to manipulate our reality of circumstance and blur the truth into something that makes us feel better to appear more acceptable. Imagine if there were no words and the only way we could communicate was through our eyes and the softness of our faces and the way we actually treat one another? The eyes always speak the truth. It is hard to look directly into the eyes of another and not recognize the pain or joy we cause them. We just don’t seem to look anymore. We are trapped behind our cell phones and our computers and we have lost the very thing that makes us feel connected. Eye contact and attention are two of the most beautiful expressions of love I know. Yet, we are always so distracted. The receiving end of distraction is painful. What message do we send when we are trying to have a conversation and we say hold on I have to check my messages? What message do we send when we are trying to tell someone something important while they are staring at the television? What message do we send when a text message has replaced a real conversation on the phone with a friend? No wonder people feel insignificant, neglected and lonely.
Remember, actions speak louder that words, what are yours saying?
The more time goes by the more I realize how precious life is. I am up pretty early today. Everyone else is still asleep. I love starting the day quietly, when all I can hear is the ticking of the clock. It’s a reminder to me as I celebrate another birthday today, that time is constantly moving. I am blessed to wake up and celebrate that I have enjoyed another year filled with love, joy and many blessings. There have been many lessons too. Important ones and I have embraced them. It is becoming clearer how everyone in my life challenges and inspires me to be better than the person I was a day before. Some of the lessons are hard but they are necessary.
Every year on my birthday I like to choose a word. A word that will inspire me and my life to move in a certain direction. This year I am choosing live. I want to see the world through the eyes of a small child. I want to embrace and enjoy the little things that slowly feel numb with the passing of time. Just yesterday, I rode a merry-go-round with a silly smile spread across my face. I was fortunate enough to go celebrate friday night with a few of my friends and I laughed harder and smiled wider than I have in a long time. So, my second word is play. I will take time to be silly, to realize that I do not have to travel to exotic places to feel happy, but must feel happy and find joy wherever I am in every moment I can. Happiness does not come from any special place. It comes from smiling on the inside and focusing on all that is good everyday in this wonderful life.
I am looking forward to embarking on the year ahead. I have a great feeling about this one and I am ready. I don’t get sad for getting older, I am grateful. What are you grateful for today?
Today I am reminded of The string of Easter Days that have made up my many years. It’s funny how an innocent conversation with your 15 year old daughter can really get you thinking.
Easter has always been about church and God from the earliest Easter I can personally remember. As a young child, we would go to my grandmothers and wake up Sunday morning to a great big basket with fuzzy tiny chicks sitting on top. We would rip through our candy and get ready for mass. Later in the day we would all gather at my aunts. There were so many of us jammed into that tiny trailer but somehow it never seemed crowded. I guess you could say Easter was also about family. It was about the important connection we have with one another and how a change in one tiny part can affect the whole unit. When someone was missing, their absence was palpable.
As I got older and moved away the connection part stayed alive and strong. Although I watched extended family break into smaller units and stop getting all together, I realized that the older we get the more isolated we sometimes feel. We forget that belonging to something bigger than ourselves creates a place that we feel safe and loved. We forget that the people who came before us created those days of bonding because they were wiser and knew how important that connection really was. I longed for things to be the way they once were but had to accept family, as I once knew it, had become a thing of the past.
When you move around, holidays can be tough. We were so blessed to have the right people in our lives who made such a tremendous impact on us. People who had once been total strangers opened their hearts and their home to my family and allowed us to be part of their special day. I realized that connection goes much deeper than family and that all people, related or not are connected and meant to treat each other as such. We are all one big great family in a sense and sometimes we lose sight of that.
So today, I want to say thank you to all the people that made me feel connected in our hearts. Easter is a special day and a day we should remember that we are all important. We are all lovable and we are all worthy of respect. We are one and we are connected and that is worth remembering and protecting. Jesus died on the cross for all of us. Do you make the people in your life feel that important? What do you do to show them they matter?
There are so many inventions I am grateful for. The crockpot is just one of them. Seriously, what is better than walking inside your house and being tantalized by the wonderful smell of dinner that is waiting to be eaten inside your beloved crockpot? The funny part is I owned one for 13 years before I actually ever used it. Crazy huh? And now? Ahhhh…I wish you could smell what I’m smelling.
What is an invention that you are grateful for?
If you are familiar with these three words, I am guessing you saw the movie too. Actually, a fellow blogger wrote a review on the movie and I was intrigued enough to go and check it out for myself. I personally enjoyed it. I love a book or movie that moves me. I love to walk away contemplating my own beliefs and why I feel so strongly about them.
I’ve learned a few things recently. The first is that religion divides. Religion makes people hate and act poorly toward one another. It is used as an excuse to hate, but it is not the religion itself but rather the people and the way they interpret their religion that causes us to get it so wrong. We get caught up in our humanness and it confuses what is real and what is not. My God does not hate. He accepts, He forgives and He loves, period. However, it is the fault of the people and their need and desire to push their beliefs on others that causes the greatest divide. People need to learn on their own. People need to see on their own. Sometimes, there are not enough words in the universe to change someone’s mind. The more we try, the more resistance we face. We are all entitled to our individual beliefs and who are we to tell another what they should believe as well. People love to argue over whether or not there even is a God and the hypocrisy is that by believing and pushing beliefs on someone else is like taking on the role of God yourself. I’m right. You’re wrong. Who do we think we are, acting as if our own truth is more real than the truth of another? What makes us think we have the right to push each other around and call each other hateful names? This is not love or peace or acceptance. This is ego and attitude and power. Those words do not exist in my version of religion.
I believe it is up to each and every one of us to decide for ourselves. When you come to your own truth it just feels right. It speaks deeper than words and is palpable in ways that words cannot express.
I have learned that religion is very personal. It should not be debated but should be respected. Remember, someone else’s truth is just as real to them as your truth is to you. For me, I do believe in God and I am proud to share the message of the movie. God’s not dead. It’s not up for discussion. It is the right choice for me. I respect everyone regardless whether you believe or not. That is your prerogative and your personal choice.
The movie was a pleasant surprise. I did not walk in with any expectations and the story held my attention all the way through. Will you see Tom Cruise or Demi Moore? Definitely not but it is worth seeing especially if your mind is open.
The way I think has certainly changed with each year that I grow older. As a child I was tricked into believing that everyone would always know what I want and it would be magically provided. I just expected that someone would always be there to take care of my needs. That’s what adults do. They cater to children from the time they are born. When a child cries he is immediately placed in someone’s arms. When a child is hungry, that child is almost immediately given food and when a child whines, what do we do to stop the whining? I don’t even have to say the words. We are just groomed to believe that our needs are important and they should be met in a timely fashion.
As a teen and a young adult, it was disheartening to find out that not only would my needs not be Immediately gratified, but most people didn’t even know or care about what my needs even were. I would quietly stew in my room or in the corner of a room because I actually believed that everyone everywhere should recognize exactly what I want. I never had to ask for anything before, they just knew so why wasn’t I that important anymore? So began the woe is me phase. No one cares, I’m not important. Everyone sucks. Ahhh…the victim stage.
Once I had kids of my own I saw how the balance of the whole concept blended together. As a parent, I too began to meet the needs of my own children and at the same time sacrificed my own. Tired? Too bad, I have kids now and I am on their schedule. Hungry? Oh well, my child just pulled the last bite of food out of my mouth to eat it herself. This is the time we believe we are supposed to sacrifice ourself for the needs of others. Our actions actually teach people that we are not important and that their needs come before our own.
Enter the teenage children stage. This is definitely the time a parent smashes into a brick wall. It hurts and the pain stings as we watch the selfishness take over our teens whole demeanor. The lightbulb comes on and the sirens go off and finally reality and truth hit us harder than Muhammad Ali. We realize that we have created our own monster and we have to again show the world that we too are important. That our needs are just as important as anyone else’s and denying oneself that right becomes a thing of the past.
So, what did I learn as I approach my 43rd birthday? I’ve learned that there is day that I am special. A day that my life will be celebrated. I day I will no longer expect those around me to surprise me or have a clue what I want. This year I will throw my own little party at the place I want on the day I want. Whether anyone even shows up doesn’t even matter. What does matter is I will be where I want to be doing exactly what I want to do with the people that are kind enough to be there to be part of my plan. It is okay to put yourself first. It is okay to tell the world what it is you want and it is okay to yell to the world “I am important!” Remember, you teach people how to treat you and if you always put yourself on the back burner, others will too. Think about what message you have been sending to others. Are you important?