Word Vomit

Today is a day for word vomit. Most assuredly.

Often these days I feel the need to write a chapbook on my thoughts and feelings or I am a dry desert with absolutely nothing to say.

Today is vomit.

I feel nauseated a lot these days, low-level, comes and goes, and it feels like it’s because of the world around me and nothing else. Not my immediate world, which feels good, warm, protected, but the other. The outside.


I’ve been through what might be described best as a crisis of faith. Or at least others might understand that phrase. It seems to mean that you come out the other side…. And you do, and I have. But I am utterly changed.

Some changes have been very good, and some not-so-much. But it’s growth and change and that seems always to come with pain.

Why do people stay in the same place their whole lives? I know why. Change is hard. It hurts. It’s desperately lonely and confusing, and all the things you thought you knew just aren’t there any more, and those things were comforting. They were somewhat false, yet very comforting, like a small child that is protected in the home of its mother. There is bad out there, but I never think of it, I’m safe here in my cocoon.

I guess I’ve seen more of the world and I know why people don’t want to see it, not really. It can be ugly and painful and dirty and all-too-real. So we close ourselves off in different types of protective cocoons, and thank God for them, because without them, we’d all surely go mad.

I now know more about myself, about who I truly am, than I ever have. (The good, the bad, and the ugly.) I have more confidence, more of an ability to stand up for myself and others, that’s a good thing. More love, more compassion than I have ever known possible, yet I feel as though my eyes are more open than ever before. And with eyes open, one sees the bad as well as the good. We feel the pain AND the joy. Maybe it’s something to do with a lifetime of hiding and stuffing, stuffing down those feelings, pains, hurts, hiding from the harshness. I’ve emerged, ready to face it all. Stronger in many ways, yet utterly changed.

To face one’s self, to see yourself for who and what you are, to unpack it all, it’s a journey. And one that only ends when your time on this earth is done. (And if you believe in the eternity of souls, then a new journey begins.) I tend to believe it, maybe because I always have, and there is comfort in believing that we don’t just end. It boggles the mind. I am not sure I’d ever choose to believe that there is nothing after our bodies die. I understand why people do believe it, more than I ever have understood, but I don’t think I can go there.

I think most people’s lives aren’t set up to have the kind of time needed for deep personal/soul reflection. To excavate it all. It takes massive amounts of time. Maybe that’s why it often comes to people as they age and their lives slow a bit. I’ve gotten off the hamster wheel, I am blessed to be able to, and I am grateful that I can work as much as I want to. Or as little.

I’m off the wheel, and it feels mostly great, but also, I sometimes miss the madness. The pace of life with children always under foot, massive amounts of responsibilities to others. There is a feeling of purpose in it.

But this—this time—there is purpose in it as well. And I search for it daily. In words, in the blank page, the empty canvas. I see it in the eyes of family. I hear and feel their love for me, and I know it doesn’t hinge on my duty for them, or theirs for me.

That rare gem of a true friend, the one you can always call or email or text, and they are always there at the other end. It is a priceless gift.

Thanks for listening my friends.

Childhood Memories/The Leap

I remember being a young child, maybe nine or ten,

and I was at some sleep away camp, and there was this lake for swimming.

We all ran down to this cliff-like area,

and the kids all started diving and jumping off this cliff,

that probably wasn’t nearly as terrifyingly far away,

as steep a fall, as I remember it being.

It seemed a thousand-foot drop to me,

in my memory it was miles long, I was terrified.

Many of the kids were older and bigger than me,

and certainly more well-seasoned in life,

and likely every single one a better swimmer than me.

Which isn’t saying much.

One by one they ran up to the edge, and kids in the lake

and on the cliff were all shouting as they each, in turn, jumped.

The line moved, pushing me along and before I knew it,

My turn was up. I was there, standing on the edge.

Everyone shouted, people behind me,

anxious and excited for their turn,

and those down in the water. All looking, all shouting.

All eyes on me.

I heard someone say, “Come on, everyone is doing it,

there’s nothing to be afraid of!

It’s fun! Just jump!”

So, I took a deep breath (which I had time to release,

then take again on the way down).

So, so far down.

I saw the water coming closer and closer to me

and made it a point to gasp in a lungful of breath

just before hitting the water.

The impact knocked the air out of me

and I just went down and down.

I wanted to gulp in air, but there was nothing but water,

endless water.

Finally, I stopped going down and began to rise.

I kicked and crawled and kicked some more,

trying my best to keep panic at bay.

“Everyone’s doing it! It’s fun!”

But it was all pure panic

and anxiety to me.

Finally, my head broke the water

and I shot up, gasping for air,

amazed that I was still alive. I coughed,

I choked, then began to make my way over to the ladder.

I dog-paddled to the ladder to climb back up, and this ladder was so

Intensely straight up and tall and it felt like

Trying to climb all the way to heaven.

But I remember for one fleeting second, when my head broke the water,

there was this voice.

It said, “You did it! You did something you were scared to do,

something you’ve never done before.”

It was so fleeting, and so buried over with sheer panic

and deep breaths. But it was there.

Later, and at many times throughout my life, I’ve thought,

“What the hell was I thinking?! That was too steep,

too far for someone like me

with my very limited swimming skill.”

If it hadn’t been for being swept up with the crowd,

If anyone, any one at all, had bothered to ask me

If I wanted to jump

I’d have said, “No way, I don’t swim very well.”

I would never have been interested in doing it.

But I’d been swept away in the moment.

I hadn’t been given the chance to really think it through.

I remember this moment so frequently.

I remember, I did it, and I didn’t die.

It was one of the scariest moments of my childhood, and

I did it. If I’d thought about it, at all,

I never, ever would’ve made the leap.

I over-think. Always. It’s in my DNA.

But oh, that feeling.

Coming up out of the water. Cheers and applause.

I jumped. I did it.

I didn’t die.

I try and remind myself, sometimes I need to stop over-thinking,

and just take that damned step.


Why I Left the Traditional Church (and why I use the term “speak your truth”)

Once again, I have seen on social media, people bashing the term “speak my truth” and this primarily from the far right and the traditional church. And aimed primarily towards Oprah. I want to write about the term “speak my truth” and the reasons I, personally, use the term and always will, and what that means to me, and why I left the traditional church.

I have “ranted” before about people perpetrating spiritual judgment on others, because when I see and hear this kind of thing, it goes all over me, irritates my spirit, my soul, and my very cells. So here I am a writer… what’s a girl to do? Sometimes I MUST write about it.

Let me say, I’ve been where you are. If you are in a traditional bible-based denominational church, you call yourself a Christian, I have been there and was there for most of my life. I don’t –in any way—believe that I am now better than anyone (ANYone in any religion or faith) so please hear me when I say that. I see my spiritual path as a spiral, not a staircase, I am not looking you in the face and saying “I’m steps above you” but I can and will say that I have chased God since I was five and I know as well as I know my name, that wherever I am is exactly where God brought me to. Others don’t get it, that’s okay.

Deep in my inner spirit and soul there began to be things that really didn’t fit for me, didn’t make sense. I would have “catches” in my spirit, something that said, “Whoa! That’s not right! That can’t be right!” and I finally began to listen to those things deep down, and I began to seek truth, only with my hand in my Creator’s hand, and I stopped listening to other’s perspectives.

I am a person who likes to live my life in total integrity. That does not mean that I am perfect, far from it, but if what the church is saying is something I find deep down I cannot align myself with, in integrity, then I cannot align myself with it anymore. I know this sounds like a “rigid” stance, but for me, (this is MY truth) it is the only way I can exist on this planet; to do what I believe I know deep down is right in as much integrity as possible, not compromising who or what I am or what I believe, not aligning myself with what is oftentimes hypocritical, broken, and nonsensical rules, laws, dogma, and behavior.

There’s a LOT of good in the church, and I recognize that the people in it are only human, I do get that. It often provides a community that many of us will never find outside of a church building. A community of like-minded people who will bring you food when you’re sick and serve you, love you, and take care of you. I know there is a lot of good there, and certainly a lot of good intention. I do not and will not judge someone harshly because they go to church or have a particular kind of faith. This, to me, is the highest form of spiritual judgment, to look at another human and say “I am right and you are wrong and you’re just being stupid.” To me, this attitude is immature, narrow-minded and hateful. Unfortunately, it is also an attitude I run across A LOT. If ever humans will be judged harshly by God, my belief, my truth, is that He will certainly judge the harshest, those who do this to their fellow man, rather than loving them. That is my truth. (See what I did there??)

When I say (or anyone says) “This is my truth,” what they are saying is actually something along the lines of “I have had a set of experiences and lessons in my life that is different than yours, I am different than you, THIS is what I have learned and know to be true,” and I think we HAVE to stop judging that. You don’t have to believe them, agree with them, or adopt their truth as yours, but I do think we are at a critical stage in humanity on this earth where it is more important than ever before, to focus on love rather than judgment. Judgment never “saved” anyone. It never changed anyone’s mind or talked anyone into or out of any core belief system, nor should it.

One of my “truths” (a powerful, life-altering thing for me) was learning and understanding that who I am and what I believe is truly between me and my Creator and is nothing to do with you. I don’t and won’t negotiate my spirituality or core beliefs with you (and I understand if you won’t either.) Nobody should. A spiritual journey is something each of us is on, ultimately, alone. God guides us where He will to teach us what WE need to learn, not what someone else needs to learn, in that precise moment in your life. What He is teaching me now is likely not the same thing He’s teaching you, in this moment in time.

This is my truth, my journey. You don’t get it? Good for you, God bless. But you better not get in my face about it—full of hate and judgment, because I WILL push back against that. I will stand up for myself and what I believe. Why? Well, because I must. I am not a follower of other people. I follow my God and integrity in all areas. I chase love, forgiveness, healing, joy, peace, and so many things. But I do not and will never again require anyone else’s stamp of approval on my life, not in any area.

Do I sound angry? Sometimes I am. I get very angry when I see people hurting and judging one another, hating instead of loving, isolating ourselves instead of being inclusive around those who do not believe the same. It hurts me and it angers me and I will always use any platform I may have to SPEAK MY TRUTH.





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.