When Your Ground Is Shaken

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Do you believe there really are coincidences? There are so many times in my life that the path I am on leads me exactly to where I need to be in a given moment. It may come in the form of an inspirational quote, or a person whose life touches mine for a brief moment. It could be a stranger or a teacher or someone who innocently offers a new perspective. I used to think that there was no real meaning behind whatever I was attracting. It was just a random occurrence that happened to brush elbows with me at a convenient time. I am now starting to believe it is something much deeper than a simple, random event.

I have been struggling lately when it comes to my personal relationships. I have taken a step back and looked closer at the depth the relationships encompass. I think for most, relationships are selfish and conditional but what do I know? It is easy to have an affinity with a good friend or family member who never questions our integrity or our character, someone who is our life cheerleader and will never take the time to look close enough to really know or understand who we are. It feels good when someone thinks we are just perfect but is that even realistic? Most people know there is another side just as true as the story we tell and the real truth lies somewhere in the middle of the two.

We all have great qualities but we have damaging ones too. We are made up of qualities that make us special but ones that make us difficult as well. There are people who see every part of us, down to the most specific detail. They don’t subtract what they don’t like and pretend it doesn’t exist. They see our whole self, the good, the bad, and every detail in between and they are not afraid to point it out. They accept us just the way we are but they do not allow us to believe we are someone we are not. They see us with a judgemental, critical eye but they admire the best sides of us too. They look beyond what we tell them and who we appear to be on the outside and they see the truth we are not able to admit to ourselves. They love us enough to turn the mirror around and force us to look into it and sometimes we hate them for what they try and make us see.

I believe we need both types to survive. Relationships are difficult and the the conditions of our relationships reflect back on who we really are.

Today, I had one of those coincidences or meaningful timing of events. I attended a yoga class that affected me very deeply. The message was simple yet profound and went something like this. Honor the people who come in and out of your life, every single one. Some are meant to test you, some are meant to love you and some are meant to change you. Someday, someone will cause you so much pain that it will rock you to your very core. The wind will be knocked right out of you and the ground you stand on will begin to shake. The truth is, we will not have any control. We must tap into our strength and faith and find any way we can to let it go. Every person, every lesson and every relationship will lead you to a place where you feel even more grounded than you’ve ever been before. You will discover that no matter what anyone does to you or how bad they hurt you, you will always have a safe place to land. When you truly become who you were meant to be and you find consistency in your words and actions, no ones opinion or treatment of you will shatter you anymore. What people think and who they expect you to be will no longer shake the strength of your character or your belief in yourself. You will discover you have the power to forgive, let go and eventually move on and all the while your true essence stands amazingly strong. Your heart and soul will remain unchanged and whole regardless of any circumstance. It is like a shield that will protect you from others expectations, judgements and conditions. You will find greater love and respect for yourself when you land safely back on the two legs that help you stand strong. Your self worth is a gift and no one can ever take that away. When you truly respond instinctually from your heart and make an effort to not intentionally harm another, those legs will feel powerful enough to support the weight of the world.

I am grateful for the reinforcement and for the teaching I was offered today. I could feel every single word and I will keep the lesson close and allow it to spill over into each and every relationship. I will remind myself, some people are in our lives for a moment and others will always be here to stay. The people themselves will show you who is which so you don’t have to waste precious time figuring it out on your own. Have faith in yourself and be true to who you are. The only person who should never let down is you. The rest are just too unpredictable.

A Temporary Break

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Sometimes, when you write enough, the brain gets quiet. Sometimes it takes writing several posts a day to finally stop the thoughts, but when that moment comes that ” you got nothing”, there is a sense of relief. That quiet, calm uninterrupted feeling is a welcome change and I am going to take a moment to enjoy it. How often do you find moments like this one? How much writing do you have to do to finally find the silence? I can actually hear the clock ticking and the refrigerator running. The mind and it’s constant racing are a distraction we become so used to that we do not even recognize the power it holds until we find it’s release. What do you do to find that release?

I’m Sorry

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I’m sorry. How many times have you said it? How many times have you heard it? So, I’ve already shared that I’ve taken many of the lessons from The giver and examined them. One thing that stands out is that when there is a lack of feeling behind the words we speak they do not spark immense emotion in the person being spoken too. I think often that conversation pulls at the emotions inside of us. It can melt us in a single moment if the words are sweet, or enrage is if someone says something we do not want to hear. Many today cannot control that emotion and we often unconsciously use those emotions as a weapon of destruction. If only we had a little meter we could adjust when we go too far one way or the other. It would be helpful to keep ourselves in check before we hurt the people we supposedly love.

Back to the movie. There were no deep feeling words acknowledged in conversations in the movie. Citizens were taught to use precision of language which took the strong feeling away. People didn’t express love but they also didn’t express anger. Get it? They spoke the words but without feeling. They were detached from the words which allowed everyone to have polite and cordial conversations. I’m always up for a new adventure so we gave it a try at the dinner table last night. When someone made a comment that wasn’t very nice(which often happens with siblings who are 12 and 15), they were required to say without feeling “I’m sorry”. And the person would respond, “I accept your apology” and we would move on. The movie challenged me to believe that practiced politeness, even without feeling is better than the alternative. So we giggled some and everyone participated in our little experiment. By the end of dinner, we all recognized the value behind general politeness.

My point is this, it’s hard to say I’m sorry because people relate that to acknowledging they were wrong. The thing is, the sorry should represent feeling bad for hurting another human being. And, a person on the receiving end that is able to say I accept your apology and move on, without holding onto the anger and emotions will be a lot better off at the end of the day than holding onto a hot coal of anger that burns their own hand most of all.

So, we will continue to practice non feeling politeness toward one another. I can only hope that one day it starts to become second nature and more meaningful and that day, I will be very grateful.

Be Patient And Trust Will Come

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I learned something very important about trust tonight. Trust is something that happens over a period of time. It is not instantaneous and has nothing to do with how much you love a person. It is a build up of consistency that determines how comfortable you are with another human being.

Tonight I was driving home with my daughter. She has only been driving a few weeks but not enough to take away the palpitations in my chest or the throbbing dread in my head. I love her to death but the truth is I am scared to death riding in that passenger seat. I just don’t trust her yet, especially when my life is literally in her hands.

When my husband drives, I feel much different. Sometimes I take my pillow along, put my seat back, close my eyes and go to sleep. Trust is a wonderful feeling when life and repetition allow it to happen, but is also something that cannot be rushed.

I Think I Might Dye

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Red. That is the color I asked my hairdresser to dye my hair. I needed a change. Fall is coming and I am feeling a little dull so why not go out and do something a little bit bold, drastic maybe. That would help me feel alive. I was very clear on the shade of red. I wanted something very natural like the highlights I had as a child.

Today, I looked in the mirror and I wanted to cry. I had two choices, I could cut all my hair off or I could go back and maybe change the color. My red is anything but natural. It is Snookie red or the color red you would imagine to see on a punk rocker. Pink almost. That is what I see when the light shines directly on my head, pink.

As I stared in the mirror something occurred to me. When I do not like what I see in myself, my instinct is to hide. I decided I was not going to yoga and I wasn’t going outside anywhere today. I felt miserable and I was filled with sadness. Them I realized something else. Everyone feels this way from time to time, how could they not? It could be our image that is disappointing, our weight, our character or perhaps our attitude. When we don’t feel good in our own skin, we just want to disappear into the darkness where no one will see us. Then I reminded myself that this freaky hair color is temporary. It will fade over time and eventually my hair will return to its natural color. I wasn’t going to hide after all. I am the same me no matter the color was on top of my head and I put my yoga clothes back on and drove right there.

There is comfort in knowing we have the power to change whatever it is we do not like about ourselves but change is a gradual. With a little patience and a little persistence we can be back to our old selves or at least find the path back to be comfortable in our skin. The lesson here it’s not okay to hide. That is a sign you have given up. We cannot stop living just because there is something we are not happy about. Take the steps to change whatever it is and be the person you want to be. Be proud of who you are, even if you are 40 something and your hair is pink. Really, it’s okay.

Closing Doors

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I remember the day like it was yesterday. The memories came flooding back tonight as I watched the scene between a man and his dying granddaughter.
Sometimes you just know that when you turn and walk out of someone’s door it will be the last time you will ever see them again. I remember taking my grandmothers hand and studying her face. I thought that maybe if I looked at her long enough, I would remember every detail. I begged her to open her eyes so I could see them one more time but she just didn’t have the strength. I felt the bones crushing in my chest as I turned to walk out of her room that day. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. The heart knows what the heart knows and mine was giving me a heads up on the pain that was about to come.

We are so quick to pick and choose who we allow in and who we throw out of our lives. We treat people like beanbags who we throw around at our convenience forgetting that our words and our actions scar the people who have loved us at our best and have always been there to help us through our worst. We forget that a lifetime is not forever. Sometimes we say goodbye by choice and other times there is no other choice.

Death knocks loudly on everyone’s door. It is a knock we cannot ignore. Be careful, for the door you slam in someone’s face to keep them away may be the very door you stand in while you watch them being carried away. You will stand there alone and seek comfort in your pride. I wonder how that will feel, knowing you said goodbye long before you ever had to.

Underneath The Surface

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I often get the impression that people feel misunderstood. They really believe that people don’t understand what is really going on beneath the surface. They feel judged and think people only notice the bad things and overlook all the good.

I went to a beach a few years ago in Texas and noticed some large trucks parked in the sand. I thought it was kind of odd but didn’t really understand until I woke the next morning. I was surprised to see that there was a massive amount of seaweed separating the sand and the water. The trucks were there to take the seaweed away to make it easier for the people to get to the water.

People only see what you allow them to see. Your actions, your mannerisms and your behaviors are your surface. People do not have the time or energy to grab a shovel and dig through all the layers to see what’s inside. It is your job to make sure what is on your surface is the same as what lies beneath.

In hindsight, I really believe if that seaweed was not removed, I would have turned around, got in my car, and just drove home. Some things are just too much work. And if the appearance isn’t even something that seems pleasant, why would anyone even take the time to be there at all? And what a shame really, because once I got beyond the green stuff, the water was just beautiful.

Be consistent. Stop blaming everyone around you for not understanding who you are. It is your job to show them. If your actions paint a picture of seaweed, then that is what they will see. But, if you paint a picture of a beautiful beach, they will notice that too. People see what they see for a reason. Pay attention and if you don’t like the reflection then it is up to you to paint a new scene. You are the artist and the art. You are your own creation so what are you going to create?

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A Letter To My Daughter On Her 1st Day of High School!

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I wrote this a year ago but wanted to share it again.

Dear Kayleigh,

I cannot imagine how you must be feeling today. Maybe you are old enough and wise enough to see the momentous significance of this day and maybe not. I am here to tell you this. Today is a huge day. It is a day to live in each moment and take it all in. Pause before you walk through the front door of the next 4 years of your life. Take note of what you’re feeling. You will want to remember. What do you see? How do you feel? What are you thinking? Write it all down so you will never forget. Will your heart beat faster because you are scared or excited or will you be questioning whether you picked the right outfit and whether you should have curled or straightened your hair? Take a deep breath and bask in the moment of the beginning of a new and exciting chapter of your life. This chapter is important. It will shape you and define you and serve as a pathway to the next chapter in life.

Look around at all the faces. You will see them every day and some days I am sure you will wish you didn’t have to see them at all. The truth is, one day you will step out of those doors on the last day of your senior year and those people will no longer be part of your everyday life. I promise you will miss them. Your heart will ache for them and the safety and familiarity of school will always leave a little hole in your heart. There is something very special and bonding about having your high school experience in common. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Remember there is only one person in the world that is you. You are unique and special just the way you are. Don’t ever try to be like anyone else. Always believe in yourself, and listen to the little compass inside of you. It will always let you know when something is wrong or something is right.

You will learn so many things these next few years and most of it will not be taught from any book. You will learn about life, and love, and success, and how to handle disappointments. You will probably find your first love and have your heart broken beyond repair. Learn that each morning brings a new day. Take comfort in that. Every day you have the chance to be a better version of you. You will make mistakes and you will move on and grow. Be the person you want to be. Bring kindness and forgiveness and a smile to everyone you see. Years from now, when someone hears your name, do you want them to remember you with a scowl on your face or with a great big smile? You will be remembered by the people whose lives you will touch. Someday, someone will look back and remember a kind deed or a kind word that you offered them. Be confident and kind and remember, even though you think you know it all, you really don’t. Use this time to pay attention, to learn and grow. Bottle it up and take it all in. Study hard, be a good friend, and just have fun. You will look back someday despite the drama and the lessons and the tests, broken friendships, broken hearts, mistakes, accomplishments and realize that these next four years will be some of the most memorable in your life. Don’t get caught up in the small stuff. Nothing is the end of the world except one very important detail. Do not do anything that will take away your self respect. What other people think about you is not that important, BUT what YOU think about YOURSELF means everything! Respect yourself and others will respect you too. Do not think you are above anyone but know you are certainly not beneath them. Don’t judge. Find the common in everyone. Remember, at the end of the day, we all have the same feelings and similar experiences. Treat yourself and others with respect. It will help you sleep a whole lot better at night.

Work hard at everything you do. Don’t do anything half way. Push yourself and challenge yourself and don’t ever settle for less than what you are capable of. Every choice you make will affect how others will see you and more importantly how you see yourself. Make wise ones and don’t be in a hurry. These years will go fast and life gets harder and harder with each new responsibility. Take time to find something to be grateful for everyday. Gratitude brings more of what you want and love. Don’t waste time being jealous. There will always be someone prettier, smarter, more popular, more liked. Don’t compete. Practice forgiveness and compassion towards everyone. Carrying anger is like a poison that slowly kills you over time. Teach people how to treat you and be the best version of yourself everyday.

I am so excited to watch you grow these next few years. I can’t help but remember that time in my own life and feel a little envious of how lucky you are to be knocking on the door of this wonderful short time of yours. I am proud of you and I love you and I know these next few years will be special ones! It seems like just yesterday that I held you in my arms for the very first time. It is time to let you fly and fly you will.

Thank You For Your Childhood

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What a chilling phrase if you really give it some thought. When we reach a certain age, society expects us to automatically become an adult. People expect much more from us than they ever had before. So much truth in 5 little words. It’s as if a particular day is the bridge we cross that supposedly changes the way we act and provides a more responsible way to think.

We were out driving with my daughter today. My husband told her to turn left through an intersection but never saw the car coming. She just automatically followed directions. Thankfully he yelled stop forcefully enough so that she was ably to apply the break and prevent a collision. We realized that just because she is of age to hold a permit, she will not always be experienced enough to make the right decision.

I think adulthood is just like that. We start to be treated like one but really nothing has changed but a single day that fast forwards us to a new age. We don’t change, time just decides how old we are. I think we forget that experience is on going. It is life experience that tests us and teaches us how to respond. It doesn’t happen over night and it doesn’t magically occur when we turn 18.

What a sad concept to even insinuate that growing older means giving up our childhood. The older we get, I believe we realize how much better off we were when we were more like a child, when we believed in things with child like faith and loved wholeheartedly with our childish heart. And don’t even get me started on how easily the young heart forgives and moves on.

The Giver was really thought provoking and this line really stuck with me long after I stepped out of the theatre. I thought is was worth sharing with all of you. I’d love to hear your thoughts. How do you feel when you hear the words “thank you for your childhood”? How does it make you feel?

Life Is Like A Rodeo

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I guess there is a real parallel between life and a rodeo. Some of you are probably asking yourselves where I could possibly be going with this one , but be patient, you will see.

The arena is where our interactions take place. It’s life, plain and simple. It could be our jobs, our home, a restaurant. You name it, anywhere life happens gives life to an arena.

The bull could represent anyone who carries anger, attacks others and becomes aggressive in a moments notice. They are the ones quick to anger and speak with a hurtful tongue. If you disagree with them or rub them the wrong way, you can be certain they will attack.

Who is the cowboy? That is the person who attempts to interact with the bull. The one who tries with all his might to have some type of relationship, all the while knowing they may be attacked. The person who tries to get him under control, yet despite holding on for dear life and giving it his best fight, either just gives up and bows out or gets too roughed up by the constant fight.

So, who then is the rodeo clown? According to Wikipedia, the primary job of the bullfighter(aka rodeo clown) is to protect a fallen rider from the bull by distracting the bull and providing an alternative target for the bull to attack, whether the rider has been bucked off or has jumped off of the animal. I guess it would be the person who gets in between the bull and cowboy to try and protect the rider and steer the bull away from his path. And the craziest part, that clown actually does it while alleviating everyone’s horror by making the crowd laugh. Sounds like a dangerous job, don’t you think? Who would knowingly put himself in danger to protect someone from getting hurt or possibly risk getting hurt himself by redirecting the bulls aggression toward himself? It doesn’t sound like a pleasant job but I guess someone has to do. Would you volunteer, especially knowing you could be harmed in the process?

And who would even attempt to be anywhere near a bull with its unpredictability and aggressive nature?

And do I need to even ask who would want to mimic the bull as far as behavior?

Who are the bulls, the cowboys, and the rodeo clowns in your life? Pay attention. They are easy to pick out.

We all play a role in the arena of life. Which role do you play, the cowboy, the bull or the rodeo clown? I’d love to hear about it.