Monday, July 27, 2015

Who I was...

I began a blog last night, feeling both inspired yet wearing a heavy heart. I was motivated to sit down outside and write. To let the outpouring come, silently held in nature's arms. I wrote and wrote, and to my surprise my kids even stayed asleep long enough for me to finish. I closed the laptop, satisfied, and intended on publishing the next morning (this morning) when I was able to search for an old photo I wanted to use to accompany the blog post. 

Excitedly, as I sat at my desk this morning, I opened up blogger. The majority of the post was gone. There was only a few sentences remaining. Devastated and confused, I spent an hour trying to recover the draft. No success. I googled and searched and tried just about anything I could think of. Even trying to trick the computer. I asked a dear, old friend of mine for some tech advice, and we began catching up some while I tried the suggestion he sent me. Frustrated it didn't work, I gave up. Reluctantly. 

We continued chatting and a few minutes later, the very topic I had written about the night before came up. It was so synchronistic, so perfect and beautiful. I remembered most of my important points I touched on in the blog the night before, and felt even more motivated to rewrite it and publish it. It was a clear sign for me. So maybe tonight, as I sit here, again, cradled by the whisper of the night, I will create something more powerful than I did last night. This morning I wondered if there could be a purpose for losing the blog. Tonight, I trust there was. And will do my best to recreate what I shared, adding to it new insights and feelings that have come up for me since. 



The wind chimes are singing, beautifully, in sync with each other (I have 4 in the tree that stands next to the deck). As I close my eyes, and listen intently, with the breeze blowing softly across my face, I feel at peace. I can hear each wind chime as it participates in the song of the whole. Each one fits magically into the symphony. Though unique, each chime adds to the treasure of the combined music. Together, the four parts make the most melodious tune that touches not only my ears, but my heart. My soul. It becomes hard to distinguish where one chime ends and another begins. It's a perfect union. 

Thinking back to childhood, at just 9 years old, I was made fun of for my passions and interests.  For being who I was. I was so divinely innocent, so passionate, so curious. So enthusiastic. I was drawn to animals and the arts. 

At any given moment you could find me playing with something related to animals, outside, reading, writing or art. Sometimes a combination of the  mentioned activities. And usually, I was alone. An only child, I was shy and an introvert. I've always been an (quiet) observer. This trait later won me the name "bitch" on many occasions. But as a child, I was just vulnerable and awkward. I was sort of chubby and my hair was always a mess. Even though my mom tried so hard to make it perfectly neat and tidy.  

What I was mocked for the most was my intense love and adoration for, and interest in, animals. I was head over heels in love with learning about them, being around them, playing with them or toy replicas. I even created a magazine about them. I knew hundreds of breeds and information on dogs, horses and birds. I took horseback riding. I wrote short stories and plays about animals. I read books about horses. My heart swelled when I was in their presence. I loved my animals and they were my very best friends. 

Looking back on the photo of that 9 year old girl this morning brought tears to my eyes. Feeling the pain she felt, the isolation. Just for being who she was. For being authentic. There are just no words to describe how it feels to watch an innocent child, as they are beaten and bruised by the words and actions of others. 

I just finished watching "I am Cait," the season premier on the E! Channel about Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner. I am beyond thrilled to see a show where someone uses their social status to very directly affect (positively) the lives of people all over. But watching the show was a grave reminder of the pain that people endure just for being themselves. Trying to hide themselves away. Shove themselves into a box to "fit in."

Fear of judgment, rejection and a lack of acceptance leads to bullying, crime, suicide, violence. Beautiful souls are losing or giving up their lives just because of who they are, how they feel, the fears inside them and the cruelty of people around them. 

On the show, Caitlyn said, "We need more tolerance and empathy towards other people. It's just so hard for young people because they can't see the future. And because of that, they become extraordinarily desperate and suicide becomes an option." 

I can absolutely relate to this experience.  As a teenager, I was desperate and taking my own life became an option. It felt easier than living another day in my own shoes. In my own pain. 

Today, having made it into my thirties, I know the value of each and every life. And I know that our soul wounds are what make us strong and special. Relatable. And our biggest lessons are what we teach others about. Having survived, it becomes like our gift to the world.

Nonetheless, at the time we are living in our pain, it's hard to see out. I know adults today that have social anxiety and crippling fears as a result of bullying they endured as a child. Parents that cringe sending their own children off to school, decades later, because the trauma is so real for them. So vivid. The wounds still raw. 

I couldn't imagine hurting a child in this way. Though I was very mean when I was a teenager. I was broken and hurting and alone. I can no longer relate to that person, but I understand her. I see through the mask of toughness she wore. To the child, scared and hurting, underneath. It takes a lot for me to forgive myself for all the times I was mean to other kids, imagining the pain I caused them. But I know that it was all part of my journey and I pray that they can find peace in their hearts and heal from the past. 

Kids are so beautiful, so innocent. They are such easy targets. But adults experience the same kind of pain that the children do. Everyday. They just learn to hide it better. To tuck away the sting, the bleeding heart. 

We can't blame bullies, can we? Hurting people hurt people. They are in pain. Maybe they were raised to treat others this way. Maybe they're treated this way. As Wayne Dyer teaches, we can only give away that which we carry inside. We can only give away anger and hate if we are full of it ourselves. And if we have no love inside, or joy, how can we possibly give that to others? 

This by no means justifies the actions of the abusers. There is never a time it is okay to intentionally hurt another person.But perhaps the abused can find healing through the recognition that abuse is only about the abuser. Never about the abused. Nothing is ever really personal. At any given moment, we can only see through our very own limited perceptions. Maybe this awareness will make it easier to digest what we've gone through, to move forward and see our own beauty and perfection. 

So, is there a cure for this very relevant, important and far reaching topic? Sure. It's love. It's acceptance. It's teaching our kids to radiate love, be love, share love. To practice acceptance and non-judgment. To become a safe space for someone else to be themselves. To encourage others to be authentic, as we stand in our very own truth. To stop hiding. Stop allowing fear to rule our lives and steal our power. To shine. To share our gifts with the world.  To be kind. Always. No matter what. 

Imagine what that would look like! A world of people, so woven together, living their lives individually yet orchestrated into the entire masterpiece. So harmonious. A beautiful symphony. Each person necessary to the unified front. Each player, irreplaceable. Beautiful on his or her own. But unstoppable together. Like the wind chimes that sing in magical unison, we are all divine puzzle pieces. Unique. Perfect. And needed to complete the big picture. 

I hope that tonight you close your eyes, carrying love in your heart and inspiration for a new day tomorrow. I hope you heal, that you allow yourself to fill with the divine light that is so natural to your soul. I hope that all hardened hearts soften, and that acceptance begins to replace judgment and fear. I hope what was once closed will open. I hope you extend love instead of cruelty. And that you receive the same blessings for yourself. 

Good night, little ones. Shine on, and blow this world away.  

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Shame, Shame...

If you and I were to measure my life by societal or cultural standards or the "P.C." way to be, sure, I would have to agree that my life is fucked up.  It's not conventional or anywhere close to it.  And it doesn't look very good on paper.  It's really messy.  If a piece of art were to represent what it looks like, it would be like a toddler took a couple of crayons and markers and scribbled all over the place, missing the paper and having no perceived rhyme or reason (I happen to find this analogy quite appropriate and symbolic).

The appearance of my life is an easy one to use when others want to project their issues out into the external world and "feel better" about themselves by comparison. 

Some close to me like to remind me frequently of this, trying to make me feel bad or embarrassed for my choices or the way my life looks to others right now. It's as if they think that drilling it into my head, and making me feel guilt or shame, will change what is - or maybe they hope it'll guide me to make "better" or "right" choices in the future.  

First of all, "right" and "wrong" is subjective. And there are really no such thing as mistakes. There are actions, reactions and consequences.  There is what is, and that's all there really is to it. Our lives are comprised of cause and effect, milestones and stepping stones... all leading us to where we are in this moment right Now. 

I will never understand trying to make someone feel bad for how their life looks externally to the general public, or whomever.  I cannot relate to that inner need (of the ego) or desire to tell someone else what they're doing "wrong" in my opinion or limited perception, or society's, or whatever.  

What should I do to make people feel more comfortable? Hide myself away? Pretend to be someone I am not? Lie? Suppress and repress? 

As the last couple of years unfolded, I found myself wanting to do all of those things. And I think other people expected the same of me.  I felt judged, afraid of what others would say, and I began to use negative language about myself and my life situation(s).  Sadness, anger and depression came and went, on and off as I struggled to find resolution.  What I learned was that my perception dictated everything.  And if people really loved me, and were happy within themselves, they would have no need to judge me or point fingers or anything negative.  

So, while my life may be messy as hell, it's still my experience here.  Doesn't that make it perfect by default? 

I found that through all of my challenges, I have found a greater sense of peace, unconditional love and acceptance. I have fewer and fewer negative thoughts and experiences, and I am beyond grateful for all of what makes up my life and who "I" am.  I am able to share more of myself now than ever before. When my life "looked good," I wasn't happy. I had nothing to give others.  I judged, I yearned for more. I was an empty shell, seeking truth and freedom. After now living through things I didn't think I could emotionally survive, I am really happy to say that there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is more to life, more joy, more love. At our very fingertips.  Waiting for us to be ready and open to receive and see it.  Without my hard times, I would never have opened my eyes to the truth, the beauty of all that is, the depth of feeling and emotion available to us.  

When we judge others, we are really judging ourselves.  We aren't speaking the truth, we are speaking from our very limited perceptions and narrow scope of view.  I always reference Wayne Dyer, because this really resonates with me: "You can only give away what you have inside."  Those of us that are at peace with our own lives and experiences, that carry around with us unconditional love for others and ourselves, well... we don't have time to judge others and what their lives look like.  We don't have the desire to make people feel bad. In fact, there are enough critics and cynics in the world.  We want to make people feel good.  We want to share love and enthusiasm and hope.

Everyone is doing the very best they can each and every day with the skills and knowledge they have.  We are all here with the same goals in mind: love and happiness and fulfillment.  We are bound by a universal love and energy that fluidly moves through all things. 

Today, I am beyond grateful and so proud to display my unique work of art for all the world to see. Exposure is freedom.  

I have dedicated myself to living by example, and always being available for someone in need.  I am committed to being a safe place for others, where there is no judgment. Do I seek anything in return? Not at all. Giving is the reward. Knowing maybe that one less person is suffering, or that they can avoid the pain of rejection or judgment, well...that's plenty return. 

No matter what your life looks like, it's your experience and yours alone. All that is important is that you feel good, and that you are able to share that goodness with others. Everyone's got an opinion. Remember, we are all limited by our egos and perceptions and are doing the best we know how. Someone else's view of you is their business, not yours. Finding acceptance in what is is the key to joy and inner peace.  Keep your head high, stay strong, move through challenges as best you can and I promise you, what lies on the other side is both beautiful and miraculous.