Today I went to a new church. It couldn’t have been more different than the one I have known my entire life. It occurred to me as I sat there that I have been listening to the same message for the past 40+ years. I’ve felt so stuck lately. In my heart and my mind I have longed to find a new me… a deeper me ready to live a life full of passion and fulfillment. Something has been holding me back. I’ve been numb for so long, a much duller version of myself than I am meant to be. Be a good girl, perfect mom, devoted wife, endearing daughter. Be quiet, be patient, be better, be stronger. Be this, be that….be whatever and whoever everyone thinks you should be. The demands never seem to end. I have been confined by the opinions and labels of others. Every expectation is another chain that keeps me locked in the prison I have chosen for myself. Link by link I have built my existence and I am ready to break free. I’ve been searching for me on the same map all these years. It is finally clear that I have have been looking for answers to my deepest questions from the same sources all this time. How could I possibly grow when I never had the courage to seek a path I had never traveled? How could I evolve if I only interact with the same crowd, listen to the same voices? What if they’ve been right the whole time or even worse, what if they’ve been wrong? When will I have the courage to stand up and proudly and confidently say this is me without being forced to apologize or be shamed? Today I took the first step on this new path and I am more excited than ever before. Today I followed my own inner voice and I took a step in a direction that has been calling me for some time. This is a reminder to live bravely and walk boldly in your own shoes. Turn down the chatter of the world and once again you will begin to think for yourself. You are in there waiting to be rediscovered. Now go rescue yourself before time runs out.
I realized today that we cannot be fully open to what someone is saying if we are sitting on the edge of our seat waiting to negate someone’s words. If we are not willing to hear out a person and the entirety of their message then the conversation was over before it started. It is only after examining and welcoming a new perspective that we are able to challenge ourselves enough to consider something we may never have considered before. We are so sure we have all the answers that we’ve stopped asking questions and there alone lies one of the biggest problems of all. We can remain stuck or we can be open to grow. We can talk or we can listen. We can welcome information or we can insist we already know what there is to know. When is the last time you took an opportunity to open yourself up to something new…a new idea, a new belief, A new situation? Ask yourself, how open are you to learning and changing?
Sometimes life slows down long enough to catch up with the people we love. I am grateful for that today.
Someone made a comment to me earlier that really started me thinking. I can’t remember the exact words but the point being made was that I have my health and can pay my bills so my life must be good. What exactly does it mean for life to be good? I imagine a good life looks quite different to each and everyone of us. I am struggling with a torn meniscus and experiencing some real anxiety over trying my best to parent a teenager who seems to be lost. Sure I look healthy and yes the bills are paid but my heart feels heavy and I feel it racing. I think what disturbs me most is people think they know but they really don’t. They don’t take the time to know. They don’t really want to know. Our relationships seem so superficial these days. It makes me sad that we live in a world where people tell us how we are instead of being interested enough to ask and then hear the story beneath the words. Let this be a reminder not to assume we know what’s going on with anyone else. Life may be very different for someone than it “appears” to be. The eyes don’t always get it right. Don’t assume anything because they appear healthy. Health involves the body, mind and the spirit. Don’t assume because someone can pay bills that they can pay a second of attention to anything else because they are consumed with anxiety, dread, depression, hopelessness. Maybe my life is good but I may not be as healthy as you believe. I can have a good life in spite of everything because I make the choice to do so. Let’s just stop assuming anything and ask. Listen. Encourage. Support. Reach out. You don’t know but maybe you should.
I saw a meme today of a person hanging onto a rope tied to the bottom of a hot air balloon. The caption read, let go or be dragged. It inspired this post.
Today I will not allow myself to believe I am a victim.
Today I will focus on the blessings in my life.
Today I will remind myself that hope and despair are both a choice.
Today I will focus on the light at the end of the tunnel and know that I am headed in the right direction.
Today I will take a deep breath and repeat the words “it will be okay.”
Today I will look in the mirror and remind myself of who I am.
Today I will choose hope and faith and give God what I cannot handle alone.
Today I will be easy on myself and choose love.
Today it is October. A season of change. I welcome it with open arms.
Today I will embrace the peace and freedom that comes with free falling as I release my grip on this rope.
Today I decide.
Whatever you are struggling with today, know that you are not alone. You are strong and everything you need is everything you are.
I haven’t been feeling like myself lately. Something’s been missing and I’ve lost a few steps when it comes to having any enthusiasm. I realize I gave up the best parts of myself when I stopped blogging and going to yoga. Those were 2 things that kept me balanced and the scales are so tipped the wrong way, I pray I have the strength to tip them back the right way. Ebb and flow is a real thing and with that knowledge I find comfort in the fact that this phase too shall pass. If you feel lost, do what makes you feel found. Set your soul back on fire and get some zip back in your step. You are in control. Sometimes you just forget.
On those days where fear seems stronger than faith and despair wins out over hope, remember who you are…
You are strength
You are balance
You are love
You are perseverance
You are a fighter
You are a survivor
You are a rock, a pillar, a mountain.
You will get through this. Just remember to breathe. One day, one minute, one breath at a time.
Sometimes I forget where I end and where my kids begin. It is both beautiful and tragic the connection between a mother and a child. Try as I may to disconnect, nights like this it seems nearly impossible. There is a very fine line between being a nagging parent and encouraging independence. I don’t want to spend useless hours worrying about my kids but when they give me reason to worry what choice do I have? I don’t want to stay in their business but when they are slacking in their responsibilities how do I turn my back? With each grouping of years comes a new set of challenges and the teenage years are the most difficult for me. It’s hard to find the sweet spot when someone toggles between striving to be an adult yet acting like an irresponsible child. I pray these nights of worry and insomnia will eventually become a thing of the past but that feeling deep inside my stomach that goes hand in hand with a mother’s intuition is sometimes too painful to ignore. No one talks about the challenges of parenting. We are quick to brag about our kids straight A’s or the award they won in the pool or on the field but how comfortable are we admitting the things that scare us half to death? How often do we support one another when a kid makes a bad choice or neglects responsibilities or gets caught in a series of disappointing lies? How terrifying is it knowing we may have failed them? Who is there to help us survive the hard times, the times we feel we are doing a horrible job and all hope seems to be lost? Who will listen when our heart is pounding violently in our chest and the mind chatter in our head has us spinning out of control? Parenting is not easy especially when we are forced to do it with little or no support. Sure these years will pass but sometimes the days feel painfully long. Reach out and support a fellow parent today. I can only guess how much that could mean to someone struggling to do their best. I see you. I feel you. I understand.
I have one pace and usually it’s a fast one. A few weeks ago, I woke up with some pretty serious pain in my left knee. I am an anxious person and I burn that anxiety off by staying active. The last four weeks I have been pretty immobile. I’m not used to sitting around and I have to admit I don’t do it well. Like it or not, I have no choice but to find some sort of peace in my new found stillness. Today I got the news I have a torn meniscus and I am debating whether or not to have surgery. Sometimes we don’t know enough to slow down and life has a way of forcing it on us. I am in that place struggling to find some kind of comfort there. Sometimes when we become still, the noise around us becomes intolerable. We don’t notice it as much when we are part of it. For now, I will try my best to be patient as I invite healing to my body, mind and spirit. Sometimes we forget just how closely they are all connected. When one is out of balance, more times than not, all three are unbalanced.
I had the oddest dream last night. It ended with me standing in a room with a girl who was completely deformed. She had cracks in her face and body and I could see inside of her. I was mortified and I asked her how this happened and who did this to her. She didn’t say a word but handed me a mirror. I looked into it and saw my own reflection. Tears rolled down my face as I repeated the words, “I’m so sorry I hurt you.” It was in that moment that I was able to see the destruction that my own thoughts and words and actions bring to other fellow human beings. I was forced to stare at the destruction invisible to the eyes but clearly visible to the soul and heart. It was awful and I woke up trembling.
What if we really could see the destruction we bring to another? Do you think maybe we would try harder if the harm we caused was more visible? What kind of energy are we bringing to a world that has become combative, violent, unkind, mean? We have got to be accountable for the energy we bring. My mantra and reminder for today is do no harm. I also see how important it to remove myself from the thoughts and words of others who purposely or inadvertently bring harm. It’s time to stop this cycle before we destroy one another. It’s time to bring it to light and to spread that light for our own protection. We have to do better. The time is now.