On Growth, Issues, and Boundaries Blog Dec 11 2017

I love this song by Julia Michaels where she says, “I got issues.” I’ve been saying this for some time, cuz, well, I do. I mean I think everyone does. You’re either dealing with them or ignoring them or you’re just too dad-gummed busy to sort them out. I think I’ve grown more since my kids left the nest than all the other years of my life put together. Largely because I had time to think. And I had time to begin to ask myself some super tough questions.

Having been on this earth a good while now has helped, too. There’s no teacher like time to bring experience and wisdom.

I saw a meme on Facebook earlier that said, “If someone really loves you, they’ll never leave.” Everyone was typing “Yes!” and “Amen!” and I had to type, “Nope.” SOOOO not my perspective anymore.

People in relationships each individually grow and if they don’t learn to grow together, then a split is inevitable. Some are in abusive relationships. That doesn’t mean they don’t love each other, but you don’t stay in such a place. You just don’t. Sometimes love isn’t enough. There are many circumstances I’ve seen in my life and/or the lives of others, where that meme just didn’t prove to be true. It’s a young perspective. It’s fairy tale land.

I’ve had a lot of love in my life, and I’ve had love leave. I’ve left. It sucks, but it’s the way it is.

As for my other issues, well, they’re probably too numerous to get into. But I’m learning. I’m growing. I’m sorting through the luggage and tossing some things out. I’m facing some hard truths about my own life in a way I’ve never done before; head on. I don’t know exactly why it’s taken me this long, except to say, it was my time to do so.

And at the risk of writing yet another post entitled, “What I’ve Learned,” because I have enough of those now to write an entire book, I will list some more of the things I have learned here. Some are just too personal to share, but some I can.

1)     People can love you with all of their ability but not know how to love you right or well.

I didn’t really know love in the way I do now, not for a very long time. Having kids taught me a lot about how to love. Having unconditional love in my life was life-changing for me. Transformational. And it helped me learn a lot more about what love really means. You’re not born with the ability, it is hard fought for.

2)     Many people in our world today do not know how to confront, inwardly or outwardly.

I used to think I was the world’s worst at confrontation, and at one time I probably was. I didn’t know how to face the yuck on my own insides, let alone deal with someone else’s. I’ve learned a lot about boundaries, and that people treat you exactly how you allow them to. This a very powerful truth for me. I have also learned to confront others in love and respect, because I have been confronted that way and I’ve been confronted harshly and even unjustly, and I now know which way it should go. It isn’t easy and it isn’t very fun, but I’ve learned to maintain relationships, you MUST be able to confront when needed.

3)     Nobody wants to come face to face with having been wrong about something in their lives.

One of the most powerful things that has happened to me in recent years is being brave enough to admit that I’ve been wrong about some core beliefs in my life. Now, that’s painful. It can feel humiliating, or off-putting and just plain yuck. But we are each responsible to grow past the yuck when we find it in ourselves. I’ve had attitudes that were hurtful, I’ve been narrow-minded and short-sighted about some things, and it’s been hard to change, like turning the Titanic. But this ship is turning.

4)     Just because something ends, that doesn’t mean it was wrong. You learned something.

In my life I’ve had people jump ship on me. I have to remind myself of the times when I was the one that left something or someone. I am learning not to judge and to realize that people are where they are. I am where I am. If that doesn’t mesh well, that’s okay. It really is. God Bless and see ya later.

5)     You’re stronger/better than you think you are, AKA, We ALL Have Issues.

I spent many years dealing with some personal issues that helped me believe I wasn’t worthy of love. I wasn’t good enough. Low self-worth and low self-esteem are epidemic. For some it could be due to harsh up-bringing, or some kind of abuse or trauma, or bullying… but whatever our individual reasons, I think most, if not all people, struggle with their self-worth in some way or another. If you find yourself in any place around any people who hold you down and try to stop your personal growth, please, GET OUT. People who love you for you, will encourage your growth and finding yourself; your self-awareness.

6)     You are under NO obligation to be who others think you should be, or hold their “stuff” as your “stuff”.

Don’t adopt your family’s belief system as your own, or your friend’s or anyone’s. Part of knowing who you are is fighting out things for yourself; coming to know and understand fully and firsthand what you believe and why. If your only reason for holding a core belief is because someone else said so, it’s time to really examine it. Examine your own heart. If something feels wrong, it often is. Have the strength to set those boundaries. We have to say “You can come this far and no further.” I will listen to you tell me this or that, but at a certain point, only I know what I truly believe, deep inside to be true, and that I will not negotiate.

And as for me, these are the things I have learned, and maybe you have or haven’t, or maybe you have a different list. If you don’t have a list, it’s time to get one.

Happy growing, beautiful one!!

 

December 2017 blog post–On Self-Love and Self-Confidence

There’s so much going through my mind right now that I almost literally cannot move and function, which for me, means it is time to “download.” Time to write it all out.

I’ve been thinking a lot about personal growth, (it’s a thing with me), and so I love sharing my journey so that maybe even just one person will connect with something and maybe find it helpful.

Of course, no-one is ever under any obligation to read these things I post, whether I post a link to my site where I have all the blogs or if I decide to share it all on my personal Facebook page, PLEASE feel free to keep scrolling.

So, here’s where my thoughts are today, December 7th, 2017.

I had the thought that it may be a great personal litmus test to see just how comfortable you are with yourself, if you can go out and eat by yourself. This is not a judgement, just a little test you can take to see where you are with loving and enjoying who you are. CAN you spend time alone with YOU willingly, and totally enjoy it? I know personality types definitely play a part, but in my journey, I have noticed a pattern, that those who absolutely cannot be alone, OFTEN do not know or love themselves well. It’s a part of feeling constantly judged, and being trapped in the mindset of, “what are others thinking about me right now?” If you can’t get past that question, your personal growth will be stuck in one place for years, maybe forever. And I can speak to that because that used to be me. Some aren’t tracking because you’ve conquered this already in your life; scroll on. Some of you are totally tracking with me.

I began making it a practice to go out and eat alone many years ago, and I will admit that, at first, it was hard. I was convinced that others were judging me. They thought I had been stood up, or I was “on the prowl,” looking for a date, or I was sad in some way. And here’s the key. It just doesn’t f-ing matter.

I have found myself so stuck in the jail of other’s opinions and judgements that I was stuck for a very long time. I am free of that now and it is the biggest change and sense of freedom I think I’ve ever felt in my life. And it is a huge step towards loving YOU and realizing that YOU are fun to be around. You’re a marvelous person, deep, intricate. You have layers. Others don’t get it. Who cares?

So, my point today, is If you say to yourself, “I could never do that!” then I challenge you today to do it. Plan it, schedule it. Go to one of your favorite places. Maybe bring a book or a Kindle. And while you’re there make it a point to breathe deep and smile a lot. Relax yourself and just notice your surroundings. Watch people. Observe. Listen.

Go inside. Think about the best parts of yourself. Sometimes I get into these deep conversations with myself or my creator even, in my head, and sometimes I laugh out loud. Yes, people stare. I don’t care. I crack myself up. Deal with it. Yes, people see me as weird, arrogant, blah, blah, blah, but my personal growth WILL NOT rest on what others think about me. And it shouldn’t for you, either.

You may find that you enjoy the practice so much that you begin to schedule alone dates. Dates with yourself. I love it. Do it. I found out a long time ago that I actually really like me. Doesn’t make me less than humble. Doesn’t make me an arrogant ass. I’m just self-aware enough to realize that sometimes I am the only one I want to be with.

All that said, it’s hard to like and love yourself if you carry around a lot of guilt or shame or unforgiveness inside of you. We are all so very different and have had very different experiences, but pain is common to us all. We’ve all been through it. One way or another. My story may not match yours, but we all have stories. The best advice I can give you, is spend time on you and you alone, forgive yourself first, then work on forgiving others around you. You are worthy of love, worthy of acceptance and nurturing, but guess what? That begins ONLY with you. A little one-on-one with yourself. Learn to be your own best friend and you will eventually find other like-minded people to connect with, but it won’t be because of a deep-seeded need to have others love and accept you; it’ll be because you have loved and accepted yourself. And that’s attractive. You will draw the right people to you.

And here’s the downside, (there’s always a downside). You may lose friends, too. Any time we change there will be people who don’t get it, who judge you, who don’t think they like what you’re trying to do. A lot of that is because they want and need you to be messed up and needy. They have their own twisted need for that. Maybe they feel they need you, just as you are. Truth is, they are on their own journey and sometimes we have to leave others behind. Relationships should always be built on mutual respect, love, and understanding. If others don’t respect you doing things that better YOU, then it may be time you hang with a new crowd.

Change and growth is so hard. Self-respect, self-confidence, is hard-fought-for. Do it anyway. You will never truly regret it.

Whatever has happened to you up to this point helped make you who you are. You hold the key to changes for the better; to living YOUR life, not a life others want, need, or expect you to live.

Go out and take on the day and the world today. You’re worth it. You’re loved.

 

 

 

 

Unmet Expectations: The Root of All Evil

 

Thinking a lot about expectations today. I once expected that all of my needs in every area would be met by my parents. They’d keep me full (physically and emotionally) and make sure I had all that I needed. I had pretty good parents, (certainly as compared to some I’ve heard about). So by and large, those needs were met pretty well. Sure, I got mad or upset with them, but they did the best they could.

As a pre-teen and into my teens, I think I transferred those expectations to boys. If I met the right boy, it would make me feel wonderful and fulfilled and all would be well.

When I was a child, as well as when I got closer to adulthood, I began to seek out the meaning of life; to understand religion and all things philosophical, and for a long while felt fulfilled following religion. But there were times, I fell hard. I would realize that people in churches were also human and fallible. Religions were man-made and far from problem-free.

My expectation was that having faith would totally fulfill me and perfect my life. Logically, I always knew this wasn’t so, that nobody is perfect, and even faith itself is not perfect. But many, myself included, at times in my life, have found great pleasure and fulfillment in church communities, gathering with other people who were at least somewhat like-minded, looking to something above and beyond ourselves for answers. It was, in a measure, fulfilling. At least I could feel as though I was being and doing everything I was supposed to do and be. Or, I thought so at the time. There is something true and real in seeking out the un-understandable; at least for me, there has been. I used to think I had a handle on some things. My ducks were in a row, my boxes were secure and ticked.

My view of God and of spirituality is totally different now. If only I could relate this eloquently and in a manner others could understand, but I’ve tried, and I can’t. I’m letting it go, (the need for others to understand).

Spirituality is a lifelong process, I know that now. To grow in every area, you must be willing to change, to take what the Creator brings your way. I’ve had to learn to grow through things, not shut down. My faith looks nothing like it did twenty years ago, or even ten, and I’m convinced that’s by design.

I expected as an adult to have a long, healthy life; particularly once I began to figure out how to eat better, exercise and take care of myself. This is another expectation that isn’t necessarily reliable. Nobody knows how many days or years they have on this planet. At least nobody on this side of the divide.

I expected that 2 and 2 would always equal 4. That things were always black and white, that things would always make sense. I have now acknowledged the gray.

I never expected that I’d have auto-immune disease, or any of many other things I’ve dealt with and deal with daily.

I never expected to get old. This is a tough one, because everyone knows they will age, yet somehow, we’re never really ready for it when it comes. In my twenties and thirties, I probably would’ve said that being in my fifties felt like it was a million years away and unfathomable; yet here I am. A grandmother several times over.

Some expectations have been met, and some things are far better than even I imagined. I have an amazing life partner and husband, three beautiful and amazing grown kids. I have a truly wonderful life.

And I still feel myself setting up expectations in areas of my life that blow up in my face.

My husband isn’t responsible for my happiness or fulfillment. That was a big lesson to learn. I enjoyed the tear-jerking, earth-shattering, unbelievably blessed years and moments of raising kids, but ultimately, I can’t lay my happiness at their feet or at the feet of “family.”

I know some truly unique and loving people, friends. Can’t lay my expectations there, either. People often end up being (shock) very human in the end. I’m learning to let them be.

I’ve learned that happiness, joy, fulfillment, it only comes from the inside out. It isn’t about the outer, it’s about the inner.

And the journey led right back to me.

I now know I should keep my expectations right where they belong; in check. Right here at my feet, at my door. God and the universe does their thing and I do mine. Everyone else does theirs.

Ultimately, I have zero control over most things. I make decisions and deal with the consequences. And when life doesn’t go as planned, and expectations aren’t met, I come back to this; God and the universe does their thing and I do mine. Everyone else does theirs.

That’s just the way it goes. And that’s okay.

 

Transcendant to release December 1st!

My latest novel is set to release December 1st! Can order (after Dec 1) through Amazon, B & N online, and other booksellers. If you order from my site (here on the books tab) I will sign it and send it on to you.

The year was 2723. The year time stopped. The calendar was re-set.

 Troy Collier emerges from a government bunker and goes to work rebuilding after World War III. He finds himself married at nineteen, and working at Compound One, the seat of new power in what is left of the Eastern US.

The new mandate is to procreate for the survival of the human race. The community is infiltrated with spies, and there is rumor of a secret society of “evolvers” as people go missing.

Faced with numerous challenges, Troy navigates his way, as humanity struggles to survive, and some to transcend.

Mindfulness and Choice

It seems to me, (and I’ve only myself and my own experiences  to go by), that any time I feel down or blue or depressed, its roots, (when I find the energy to dig them up), are in something that someone else did or said and the way I reacted to that event or conversation.  The roots are in how I was made to feel.

So when I pick at that thread, I must realize that I have given away my power in some way, to another. After all, I am not responsible for what others do or say, but I am responsible for how I react to it. So, if I give over my power by allowing others to control how I feel, then I’ve brought about my own depression, in a sense.

In the depressed moment, I am (consciously or subconsciously) choosing to focus on something negative that has taken place and the feelings I’ve attached to it.

So how do I stop this? The first step is realizing what is happening. There is some word or event that is stuck inside me, and I’m focusing on it.

I’m not sure I have yet discovered the answer in total, but I am feeling some relief by simply replacing negative thoughts (or memories) with positive ones. I’m making it a point to replay positive things others have said to me, positive truths I know about myself, over and over, to sort of replace the negative thoughts and feelings.

I know in my head that I am not a sum total of what others think of me or even of my experiences; at least, I don’t have to be. If messages are going to replay themselves inside my head/mind, then I should be the one to get to choose what messages those are.

So today I am practicing mindful choice; the choice to hear (on repeat) those things I choose to hear.

I’m sure I’m not nearly the first person to have such a realization, but coming to understand things myself, (rather than reading it elsewhere), seems to be key to my personal growth and understanding.

Today I am choosing to hear that I am loved, cherished, befriended, wanted. I am replacing the old with the new, the bad with the good.

And I feel good about it.

 

Hangin’ In (Enjoying the Journey)

It is such an incredible joy to be able to do what I love to do and focus only on creativity and artistic endeavor at this point in my life. I know that people often feel the need to do what it takes to pay the bills (and responsibility is a very good thing), but these days I can’t imagine spending 40 plus hours a week having to do something to further someone else’s agenda rather than my own.

I’m incredibly blessed at this stage, that I can work at my own pace without the lights being turned off for lack of payment. But I don’t know many who got to such a place quickly or easily.

Even so, I’d encourage every person to search after work that feeds their soul as well as their tummy. I was always pretty good with office work, and I find that if you’re good at something, you tend to enjoy it a little more. I also have an undying love for coffee, and worked at coffee shops more than once in my life. I’ve had several “normal” jobs in my life (meaning outside the realm of artistic endeavor; writing, painting and the like). But even while you’re doing what you have to do, try extra hard to make it something you’re passionate about. It will make those work hours go by faster and easier.

My husband, BFF and business partner is a tech genius in my estimation.  I couldn’t do what he does any more than he could write a fiction novel, but he’s good at his job, which makes it a little bit easier to expend a lot of his life doing it.

We only get this one life. I find it to be a necessity to do what you love, (even if you have to do something you love a little less until you can do what you love a little more–later on down the line.)

Hang on, don’t give up on your dreams. I’m holding on and hanging in, even when people aren’t throwing money at me for doing it. Because I insist on enjoying the journey–every single day that I can.

On Friendship

People leave. That’s just the way it is.

I’m not a surface-y kind of person, I don’t want a hundred friends that want to party and talk about the weather. I need a small circle of friends that like me and love me and accept me, friends that I also connect with and care about.

I go deep.

I want friends who will speak to me honestly and openly about their lives, problems, thoughts, issues. Who are not afraid to share openly, and to listen to me share openly, without judgment. Someone I can discuss issues with, and—even when we disagree—we decide to show one another respect and kindness.

I used to believe this was normal and common place, but it isn’t. These kinds of friends are so hard to come by.

I have people come into my life all the time, promising me things, acting as if they’re my new best friend, and then, for whatever reason, I usually have no earthly idea why, they just vanish. And for a long time, I’d beat myself up about that. But I came to a realization; well, a couple, really.

For one, my personality is different and I’m a unique person, (as are others), and sometimes we just don’t gel well for the long-haul. Sometimes others are more of a “surface-y” type, and do not enjoy people who always want to know what’s going on deep inside of their hearts and minds. Some people just aren’t that vulnerable and do not enjoy such a friendship. And that’s okay.

I’ve realized that most of the time, they have their own reasons for fleeing that have nothing to do with me, and the truth is, if they DO have to do with me, then they have to be willing to confront me in love and say “You hurt me” or “what did you mean when you said such-and-such” or to confront in any way. I find most people don’t do this. At the first sign of “realness” in the friendship, the first time we disagree or rub each other the wrong way, they’re gone.

At first this hurt my feelings, but it’s just the way most people are, I’m coming to terms with it.

People are broken, they want to be heard, understood, loved, and accepted, and if any little thing makes them feel less than all of this, their tendency is to move on in their continual search for authentic love and relationship. And sadly, they will likely never find it, unless they hang with “yes-men or yes-women” who never voice a real thought or opinion; those who have learned that being authentic means chasing people away, or the potential to do so.

I’m at a point in my life, though, where I don’t have the energy to expend on trying to “fix” people. I don’t have the energy to chase anyone, not anymore.

So, if we mesh, we do, and I’ll enjoy that friendship as long as it lives. But if you decide I’m too for real, that you can’t handle all of me, then be blessed, and journey on.

I speak my mind. I don’t pussy-foot around. I’m aware of who I am and I have confidence, and I don’t hem and haw about any of that. I have boundaries, I don’t allow people to put me down or insult me or try to tell me how I’m wrong because I’m not just like them.

I don’t have time or energy for any of those games, not anymore.

I’m grounded, secure; I’ve done a lot of work to get where I am, (authentically me), so, as for friendships, know that I am a fiercely loyal friend. But I don’t do BS and drama. Love me, then stick with me. Don’t love me, then walk away. Do what you’ve got to do. I refuse to let it make me bitter or closed down. I will continue to be who I am, regardless of how others treat me.

And for those that are still here, who stick; you are so special in my life and have shown me what true friendship looks like.

And for those who bumped into my life for a while and then left—journey on and journey well.

Artistic Priority (When My Worlds Collide)

I’ve been writing for many years, but that’s not to say there weren’t times that I went for long spaces of inertia with writing. During one of those down-times I began to get into painting. It felt like the right thing to do at the time; focus on something else for a while.  (I began writing full-time in ’09 and have written ten novels, and have put together and published other’s work as well, and now write a lot of poetry.)

Painting has settled into a spot in my life I didn’t even know I had. It soothes me, inspires me; it’s meditation as well as creation. It’s therapy for me.

When I first began to feel like I was figuring it out (to any degree) I got very excited and set up this site to sell artwork and my books, as well. I still sell one on occasion, but now my writing has kind of taken it’s place back (first place), for my time and attention. It may be possible to give 100% to both things, but if so, I don’t know how to manage it. So, as writing has always been there, a part of my DNA, I’d say, it will stay top priority for now. I just don’t have time to write and paint and try to market and sell books AND artwork. So, I’ll leave the ones up that I have listed for sale, and may continue to sell one from time to time, but painting has settled into a spot that’s just for me. It’s a special thing, like massage for the soul.

Recently I dreamt up ideas for two new fiction novels, so those will keep me very busy for a while, and I have a poetry compilation due to publish next summer. I plan to do more anthologies for young, aspiring writers and poets as well, so this must be my focus…. at least for now.

It’s very cool that art (painting) discovered me (or I discovered it, either way). It’s become a very welcome part of my life. For now it is priority two, but it is still very special for me. I adore combining both of my loves when possible (like the above poem posted on a piece of my artwork). It’s the best of both worlds.

Why Teaching Empathy is Important

Over the last generation or two, we’ve witnessed a downturn in empathy and compassion being taught to our children. Here are my opinions and thoughts on why.

  1. More and more households have two working parents, leaving the largest part of child-rearing to strangers who have no emotional investment in our children. Many believe that both parents must work to get by, but often, (not always), it is not about getting by, but getting ahead. The desire for larger, nicer homes and cars has outweighed our desire to parent our kids.
  2. In some instances, a cycle of abuse and neglect has simply been continued on. If parents know no empathy, they can hardly be expected to teach it to their children.
  3. Faith is not popular these days. Many have found a foundation of moral and ethical, even empathetic and compassionate behavior to be taught in churches. Church attendance and even faith in a higher power has declined, which causes many to choose to have no moral foundation. While it is possible to be an atheist and have a moral compass, it is rarer than one might assume. Once certain lines are no longer drawn, and ethics are now situational, it is so much easier to wander down a path where anything goes, because it is believed there are few consequences to your behavior. If there is no God waiting to smack you down or send you to hell, then it is an easy leap to an “anything goes” lifestyle, for some. “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die,” becomes the mantra.
  4. When one grows up without constant love, acceptance, positive touch, and compassion, one learns to count only on themselves. This leads to a “me first” mentality and a lifestyle of selfish and boorish behavior. Bad behavior becomes the norm. Looking out for number one is the only way some know to live. This is my societal observation. It makes me sad, but I have yet to be proven that any of this is untrue.
  5. As my fifth and final point, I’ll just say, let’s love our children first; put their needs ahead of our own. Too often we have babies having babies and nobody fully understands what it takes to raise a child (well) and into adulthood. Our children aren’t asking to be born; sometimes they are brought into this world as an expression of love, sometimes by accident, or a lack of planning. Even those who are planned and wanted in the beginning face the possibility of a neglectful or abusive upbringing once the parents realize just what it takes to raise a child. If you are not able to (compassionately and lovingly) raise a child for a minimum of eighteen years, (and it does not always stop there), please take steps to make sure you are not going to conceive a child in the first place. They say Hell is for Children, and often that hell is right here on this earth, in a home where they should be loved and cared for. Have empathy, show empathy, teach empathy; this alone will heal our hurting world.

The Mind/Body Conundrum

There are days… today is one. I am frustrated to no end by the difference in what’s going on inside my brain/mind/creativity and that which my bod seems able to handle. And the depressing thing is knowing that year after year, it will ultimately get worse and worse.

Today I am unusually fatigued. So I rested my head on my pillow (two in the afternoon) and let my mind do its work. In my mind I painted fabulous works of art, I wrote things, profound and thoughtful things. I re-arranged all of the artwork on my living room walls… again. I cleaned and organized all over my house. I painted some more, I wrote some more… art that would likely never see the light of day, never be painted, never be written. Because sometimes, with that fickle creative muse, it comes in a flash and if you don’t get it down somewhere fast, it flies out the window, not caring a whit about your bad day.

I’ve had a bit of this sort of dichotomy all of my life… a body that couldn’t quite keep up with my mind. But I know that I will have good days again. I will have energy again. I will paint again and re-arrange and organize again, even if it doesn’t feel like it today.

I say a heartfelt farewell to those winged inspirations that get away from me, and can only look out for the new ones yet to come.

Journey Well!

I’ve been on a journey of self-discovery, a deep, personal, spiritual journey, for, well, many, many years, but on a different level–for over seven years now. Here are some conclusions I’ve drawn:

Nobody will every be their best until they take the time to do the work; unpack their baggage, face their demons. You can coast along, same stuff different day, until the day you die, but growth takes courage, time and the willingness to change.

People, by and large, believe that anything with the word “self” in it, means you’re being selfish. Self-discovery, self-esteem, self-confidence; but the exact opposite is true. All of these things are essential to be who you were meant to be, so that you can ultimately be a positive influence on those around you and accomplish all the things you’re called to do. Do the work. There are no short-cuts.  People may call you selfish, but one of these life lessons, is knowing who and what to listen to; don’t fall for it. People say a lot of things. That’s their limited perspective, not your reality.

I do believe there can come a time when it’s time to put away the self-analyzing behavior. You can get stuck in there, so be careful not to. Unpack your bags, figure yourself out, love yourself, then, after all is put away in its proper place, turn and face the world again, with newfound strength and abilities. There does come a time when you’re healed enough to be outward-focused without doing damage to those around you.

You never truly “arrive” because life is, after all, a continuing journey. There is no final destination; face each morning as it comes, prepared to conquer one day.

Journey well, my friends!

Me, then and now

Who’s this? Well, yeah… That’s a waaaaay younger version of me. I’ve found myself studying this photo and trying to get back there, to feel what I felt, remember who that girl was. I was so many things.

I was so very afraid of criticism and my peers not accepting me, I was a wall-flower. My family didn’t have a lot of money, especially in those earliest years, so we never had the coolest clothes, we weren’t the popular kids. My older brothers tried to look out for me a bit, but I very much felt alone a lot. On my own.

I won’t go into all of my issues at that time of my life, but suffice to say I had no idea who or what I was.  I never self-reflected really, just became sad, confused, angry, and I stuffed it all in. This girl watched a lot of friends come and go, chasing after things she often didn’t understand.

I want to talk about the good, though. She was so, so kind-hearted and empathetic. She loved easily and without question. She was hurt easily, but only because she wore her heart on her sleeve. Even then, she craved the connection I often speak of now, in my writing, She just wanted love and acceptance. She was a good girl.

Now, when I see this girl, I want so much to go back and meet her, give her a big hug and tell her everything would turn out okay. I get tears in my eyes thinking about it.

I would tell her:

You are good. You are worthy. You are beautiful. If others do not know how to see you, how to value you, that’s on them. You are stronger and smarter than anyone has ever told you. You can do great things, big things. You can change the world. You can make an impact. Chase your dreams, follow your heart, seek God but don’t let others think for you; not ever. Chase truth. Be YOU, the you that you were absolutely created to be.

And, girlfriend, don’t take 30 or 40 years to do it. Figure it out sooner!

I love you.

Falling in Love, Daily

I fall in love, daily. Not in a strictly romantic sense, in fact, not at all, but it’s more of a soul connection. I meet people and I feel a soul-tingling sensation, (male or female). Something inside me leaps when I meet certain people. It’s almost as if we were cut from the same cloth or that we knew each other in a previous life. Or that we were meant to know each other in this one.

I feel sure that 90% of the time the other person has no idea, nor would they always feel the same connection to me. It’s one of those things I think deeply about sometimes. What is that? What does it really mean?

I’m a sensitive, I know this, so maybe it’s no more than being extraordinarily aware of other souls; of being excited when my soul connects in some area, with another. It’s always oddly disconcerting to me to realize that not everyone does this; experiences this. It used to be shocking to me that others didn’t always feel the same towards me, but I’ve grown used to it by now.

Of course, to explore both the yin and the yang, there are times when I meet people and I’m immediately turned off or turned away by them, too, but this doesn’t happen as often. I discern certain levels of brokenness in some, and it’s the kind of brokenness that I know intrinsically, I can’t influence them for good, they will hurt me, and I should walk away.

We live in a world where there are so many walls around our souls, so much STUFF blocking the way. We’re so guarded. These walls, this stuff, does not lend itself to falling in love in this way with others, with connecting this way.

Others find me different, intense, tightly wound, and I have to admit, they’d be right. I scare people. I’ve come to realize this, too.

A soul wandering the shores of this world with their walls down is different. Not that I’m totally there–is anyone ever? But I like connection. Time and circumstance has taught me to be very careful about who I trust and who I connect with, but even with this knowledge, I still smile inside when I meet someone new and my soul jumps a little.  I think I like it.

On Politics, Religion and Labels

(Copy of a Facebook post)

So, as today seems to be my day to make provocative statements on Facebook, (which I don’t do often):

I don’t like boxes or labels. I do not consider myself a liberal, or a conservative, or a republican, or a democrat. I have even distanced myself somewhat from organized religion.

Here’s why:

Once a person identifies with a label, a group, an organization, or a cause, they then begin to make that group or cause a large part of their identity. So, what happens next is, every time this group says something, the tendency is to jump on board, and without really thinking about it. I think it’s just human nature.

Say you’re a part of political party A and Church XYZ.

“A” gets really organized and starts doing some stuff you really love and enjoy. You agree with it, you get on board. Maybe A has a manifesto somewhere, but you haven’t read it, cuz, hey, they seem like decent people, doing good stuff. So you jump on board.

Same with church XYZ. They seem nice. The fact is, they have some weird, wild stuff buried down in the dogma and doctrine of their church, but that doesn’t matter, it’s just been there forever, it’s in the jot and tittle of their beginnings; weird stuff. Stuff that if you read today would make your stomach hurt and your eyes cross, so you don’t think about it. You just go to church, cuz they have a cool worship leader and nice, friendly people.

What CAN happen, is people then begin to follow these very real, very fallible leaders in these organizations, even when they begin to do stuff that makes you question what you’re doing and what you’re a part of.

These days if political party A says jump, you say “how high” cuz, hey, that’s your party, and those are your peeps. Did you read all sides of the argument? Did you do any due diligence? Nope, you just said, “Those crazy political party B-ers, they’re stupid and wrong.” There was a rally, emotion, people were into it, and maybe, just maybe, you jumped in because you thought that’s what you’re supposed to do.

The Pastor of church XYZ decides he wants to build a bigger church than has ever been built before and buys himself a new house big enough for eight families, and for a second, just a second, you get a twinge. “Aren’t we supposed to be feeding people with this money? Reaching out? Doing great things in the community?” But you shrug and go get a triple non-fat latte at the new coffee bar and have a seat in the new 6 million dollar sanctuary and listen to them sing and preach about love and God.

Party A is in the news bashing party B and you get all fired up. You jump on board, because, hey, they must know what they’re talking about; they’re my party and my people. Brain checked in to the safe in the bedroom, compassion turned off.

You see where I’m headed here? Yeah, it seems like I’m bashing all churches and all political parties. I’ll even cop to bashing political parties. If you didn’t realize it, they really aren’t about the issues anymore as much as they are about who has the money to get into what office and be bought off by whom, with what particular agenda. An agenda you and I will never even hear about. I have no use for either of the established parties. Go ahead, judge me. I won’t align myself with things and people I disagree with.

And this is my point.

I won’t and I don’t align myself with organizations, religions, or any group that wants to slap a label on my head and get me to back up their agenda, knowing full well that their agenda and mine are often polar opposites.

If you want to know where I stand on any religious or political issue or anything that is in the news today, please, feel free to message me and ask. I love discussing all of these things with people who use their own minds and thoughts and hearts to discuss with respect.

I can always spot the ones who have signed on to the “party line” because they are the ones who do not have logic or facts, only hyper-emotion and, if I might use the term, “religious fervor” to back up their arguments. They do not show respect, they cuss, they name call. They don’t want to have a kind, rational discussion, they only want to push their agenda. I have no tolerance. Zero.

For the record, this is not intended towards any one person, but it’s something I see every day all around me, especially on social media, which is largely why I don’t discuss politically-charged things on Facebook.

I did have a nice chat with Jacci Kalynn earlier, and I’ll call her out as a person with a brain and compassion, and she carries those things around with her. Love her to bits.

So if you want to ask where I stand on anything, please ask, and preferably privately, (especially if your intention is to stir up trouble on social media, I won’t play that game with you.)

I know there are good people in churches, trying to do their best, trying to do what they feel God is calling them to, and due respect to them, I spoke in very broad terms to make a point. I will re-iterate though, sometimes churches have an agenda, and before you align with them, make sure you are 100% on board, or don’t be a part of it. It’s integrity.

And know that all church leaders are only human, and by and large, as I said, are doing their best with what they know.
Denominations come with dogma, statements of faith on what you’re supposed to believe to be a part of their body of believers. Read it, and see if you can get on board and align yourself, in integrity. If you can’t, get out.

Labels, people. I hate them. I don’t wear them anymore. If you had to slap one on me, like, if you just HAVE to for your own peace of mind, call me this:

Loving, Peaceful, Independant, Empathetic, Compassionate, God-fearing… I’ll take these.

Mission Statement

This is my heart and my mission statement:

I try to bring order to chaos, it’s why I was created; to, in creative ways, bring people together, show them love, show them peace, show them a better way.

This will show (and has shown) itself in my life over and over again.

You may not always get where I’m coming from but I ask for the benefit of the doubt.

I was born to be a peace-maker, so if you hate me, hate me for that.

It will rear its head in my writings, poetry, fiction and non-fiction and in my artwork. But if you want to know who I am, this is it; this is what I’m about.

Love it or leave it, handle it or walk away, no matter.

Hugs to ya, my friends on this; a new day. Spread peace.
🙂