Getting Back to Basics

Well I must say, I am in a really amazing place right now! I hope it’s contagious 🙂

I have taken a step back from the chaos of the past six months and it has given me great clarity.

I can see now how easy it can be to lose sight of where we are headed in life. Even when you think you have it all figured out, life has a way of derailing you down a path you never planned.

Sometimes it is a complete dead end and you end up having to track back through the mud and the muck of past lessons you have not quite mastered.

Other times it is simply a detour…you get lost along the way for a bit, but eventually you begin to recognize old patterns and you manage to follow the breadcrumbs right to where you were meant to be.

I wouldn’t say I hit a dead end…it was more like I picked up the wrong trail of breadcrumbs for a while, went in circles for a bit, but eventually ended up back where I needed to be.

It was a humbling experience.

I thought I was an expert at positive thinking. There was no way I would ever fall back into feeling negative all the time! I was wrong, but it was a good reality check for me. I discovered a lot of areas in my life that I still needed to work on and old self defeating behaviors that I thought I had mastered.

I learned that I still have a tendency to take on more than I can handle sometimes and that I have a very  hard time admitting that to anyone…especially myself.  For me, failure in any form is perhaps the feeling I hate the most. Rejection is right up there with it, but that is easier to swallow because it is more like an incompatibility than something you didn’t succeed in. When I interview for a job and I don’t get the position or I go out with someone new and it doesn’t go quite well, I simply chalk it up to not being the  right fit. Failure on the other hand carries all the weight of the expectations associated with the goal you did not reach or the relationship that didn’t work out. Moments of failure are like poison to my normal routine of positive thinking.

It is easy to stay positive when everything in your life is going great, but the real challenge is finding a way to do it when everything seems to be falling apart. But once you do, you will find strength you never knew you had and  discover all the  power to change your circumstance within you.  You are no longer filled with anger and sadness, because you are too preoccupied with finding ways to better your life and the life of those around you.

After this recent reflection, I have a greater appreciation for my life and all of the people in it, regardless of their role. I believe that everyone enters our lives for a reason. Some may treat us poorly, but in most cases those people are the catalyst for some major growth.  I think that is why forgiveness is so freeing. When we place all the blame for our circumstances on others, we carry around the weight of all the pain we associate with them. Replaying significant moments over and over in our mind, stirring up old negative feelings, until it completely prevents us from ever moving forward.

But when we forgive, it is like purging the mind. We are able to look back on those moments with gratitude because we know the role they played in helping us become the person we are today.

Sure it is easier to sit around and bellyache about the painful things that have happened to you in the past, but you are only wasting the small amount of time we have on this earth. Nothing will ever change until you step up and take charge of your own life.

It is not the fault of previous lovers that you are afraid of love or the fault of your parents that you are insecure. It is yours.

Your life went on after those experiences and every day you had a choice as to whether or not to try and move forward and you didn’t. So year after year, you not only carry the weight of the past, but you add to it. Until one day, you begin to accept your fears as simply being a part of who you are. They become an excuse for you to take the easy way out and just settle for your life instead of creating it.

And that is all fine and good if you are happy, but are you? I mean really happy? Or are you just settling for the life you think you have to live?

I know it sounds a little harsh, but it’s true. It would be very easy to blame my mother for all of my insecurities, abandonment issues and fears of failure. And I am pretty sure most would agree she played a role, but that was then and this is now.

Recently, I asked myself those questions. I took a long hard look at every aspect of my life and made myself answer honestly.

And I am not ashamed to admit that my answer was NO for a lot of them. And that was okay because I took it as a challenge. I moved my energy from feeling bad about the less desirable aspects of my life to figuring out what it was that bothered me and finding a way to turn things around.

The difference it has made in me has been transformative and still expanding every day.

I am not saying I won’t run into another detour, but let’s hope this time I make a few less circles around the trail!

 

Twice in a Lifetime?

Do you think we have more than one soul mate? I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who so clearly has found hers and she said that if anything ever happens to him that she would have no desire to peruse another love. So I asked her, “Do you think it is possible to have more than one ‘once in a life time love’? Without much thought her answer was no.

I kind of hope she’s wrong!

The older I get the more I wonder if  I will ever get another chance at finding real love. And by real love, I mean knock your socks off, nothing compares to it, completely unconditional love. I was lucky enough to find it once. And sometimes I think that maybe that was it. That he was truly my one and only. If so, that’s okay. Some people never even find that much. I just wish I knew if it was even worth dating anyone any more or if I should just be content in knowing that I’ve had my love story and call it good.

By most people’s standards he wasn’t anything special. He wasn’t rich, he wasn’t successful, he wasn’t gorgeous, but when our eyes met it was abundantly clear that he loved me with all of his heart, just as I was. That is really all I have ever wanted.

Since then, I have attracted a few close fits, a variety of jerks and one that knocked me off my feet, but then just changed his mind   😦

It was after the last that I decided to stop looking. And instead search within myself for completion rather than through someone else.

I have been asked over and over if I worry that I’ll never find someone to share my life with and a few years ago, I would have said yes, but not anymore.

Sure it would be nice to find that kind of love again, but spending all my time worrying about whether I will seems like a sure fire way of causing myself unnecessary stress. Who needs that? Certainly not me!

So that chase is over.

If the right one comes along that’s great, but I’m done searching for him. If it’s meant to be, I’m pretty sure he’ll find me.  I have been blinded by love so many times in the past and I refuse to fall back into those old habits. There is nothing worse than having someone light the flames in your heart and then just walk away.

That is just not fair and it hurts more that if we gave it a try and it just didn’t work out. At least then you know it was because you simply were not compatible rather than having no idea why he changed his mind. Or even more horrible to realize you were just a convenient comfort for him and nothing more.

Yup, I’m done with all of that.

I know I am not perfect, but I am still worth fighting for.

 

Image courtesy of  criminalatt at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If You Truly Love Someone Set Them Free

After a deeply felt heartbreak many years ago, there was always a question in the back of mind as to if I would ever be able to love someone again. 

It was a breath of fresh air to fall for someone again. Even though they don’t feel the same way, I am thankful. 

For it was in that moment that I realized there was no need to worry, for I now know that I most certainly can love again. 

And perhaps the best part of it all is the knowledge that I love myself so much more now that I am content with loving someone without the need of its return. 

To love someone is not always to be with them, but rather to wish them all the happiness in the world…even if you are not their one. 

This belief that the right one is out there somewhere waiting for me and I am ready  whenever the time is right. 

I am no longer looking for completion, but rather the amazing joy that comes from sharing our lives together. 

Seeds of Love

“Be Impeccable with your word.” Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements

In his book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz, describes our word as magic and the misuse of the word as black magic. Every time we speak, we cast a spell and the intention of that spell is either good or evil; white magic vs. black magic. This may seem a bit outside of one’s paradigm, but just wait.

He goes on to give the example of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power and you begin to see his point. There is a power to everything we say. Just imagine if Hitler had used his word for good rather than evil. He motivated a nation of people by planting seeds of fear in their minds. Allowing them to justify their actions of unthinkable torture to innocent people. How powerful of a change could he have created if her would have instead motivated a nation of people by planting seeds of love?!

When you think of it that way, it becomes much easier to accept your word as magic and the misuse of the word as black magic. When we tell ourselves we are less than perfect, we are poisoning ourselves with our word. We are casting a spell on ourselves that makes us believe the words we are saying to be truth.

Taking it even further, Ruiz declares gossip to be the worst form of black magic. He calls it, (and love this!) emotional poison. When someone tells you something about another person before you have had a chance to form your own opinions, they are infecting you with emotional poison. This poison makes it more difficult to formulate a non bias opinion, which you then spread to another person, who spreads it to another and so on.

When in reality, the original source of this information may have been motivated by less than honorable intentions. They cast a spell on you with their word, you unknowingly accept it and proceed to cast the same spell on yourself and those around you. All the while spreading this poison with no idea that you are doing it.

Now that’s a scary thought! I don’t know about you, but I can think of several occasions when I have been the victim of this. It’s frustrating and demeaning the moment you realize you have played right in to someone’s hands.

When I read this, the first example I thought of was years ago with a girl I worked with. I had been warned of her backstabbing tendencies, but I decided to give her a chance and formulate my own opinion. That was the right thing to do, but unfortunately, she was much better at “casting spells” than I realized. At first, I kept her at a distance and slowly tested her by telling her some small piece of info (nothing actually secret of ‘course) to see if it came back around.   For months, there was no incident and I was enjoying my time spent with her. She was funny and not afraid to boast her opinion or stand up for what she believed in. I admired that. I couldn’t understand why I had received the warning about her?!

Eventually, I asked her about the things I  heard and she presented a very believable argument supporting my assumption that I had received misinformation. So, I finally opened up to her. Big mistake!!  She almost immediately began the process of ruining my life. Looking back now, it’s almost like she made a list of everything I cared about and attacked each item one by one; job, love, friends, etc. She went behind my back and told incredibly elaborate lies to anyone and everyone she could. She made it look like she was acting as a concerned friend so that her lies would be more believable. I won’t go in to too much detail, but let just say she almost caused me to lose my job, many close friends and completely shattered my self-esteem (after she built it up, which made it worse).

I made it  out of this mess virtually unscathed. Only because I began running interference as soon as I realized what she was doing. She ended up quitting and most of us were glad to see her go! If anyone can be accused of using their word as black magic it would be her. To this day, I refuse to say her name aloud, but my friends know who I am referring to when I say, “she who shall not be named”, and we all chuckle 🙂

These people are not the people we need to surround ourselves with. They are spreading emotional poison with their words, taking away our joy and distracting us from spreading seeds of love. Sadly in some cases this person may be someone you are related to and therefore feel an obligation to them to take their abuse, but this is not a benefit to your future.

I know it can be hard. One of my cousins was so terrible with her words. She would put me down and say the most hateful things when she didn’t get her way. I put up with it for years. I was always there for her when she really needed me, but I refused to participate in the her side of the family’s social gatherings. There is a laundry list of reasons as to why, but I’ll try to summarize my reasoning for you as best as I can. This cousin is on my grandmother’s side of the family. My grandmother and grandfather bought the house where my grandmother and her sisters grew up (her mother’s house; my great-grandmother). My grandmother told her sisters that in the event of her and her husband’s passing that the house would be sold and the money split between the sisters. Much to their surprise, my grandmother passed away first and my grandfather changed the will, leaving me the house. Talk about making a bunch of enemies overnight!

Anyway, this divided the family and guess who received the blame? Yup, me! The house and the assets were held in trust for several years under the watchful eyes of two of these relatives. For years, they tried to take the house from me and even used thousands of dollars from the estate to hire an attorney, which cause me to hire an attorney (out my pocket) to save my grandparents legacy.

In addition to this, I was able to view some email correspondence between them that was extremely hurtful and unnecessary. So, you can imagine why I have no desire to attend their family occasions! Every year, my cousin would ask me to go and then when I would say no, she would bash me with insults and hurtful wishes for my demise.

I took this for years and then one day I simply had enough. I responded to her chain of insulting text messages with “Wow, you are a really mean person. I did not realize you were so perfect. Good luck to you, I will no longer be taking this abuse.” I hit send, blocked her number and deleted her from Facebook!

There are not many people who have brought me to take such drastic measures. I have no malice towards these people, but rather sadness that their hearts are filled with such emotional poison.

Ruiz writes, “Impeccability of the word can lead you to personal freedom, to huge success and abundance; it can take away all the fear and transform it into joy and love.”

I hope this has planted a seed of love and encouragement for everyone to try their best to be impeccable with their word. It is a difficult task, but surely one of the most rewarding!

A Pocono Mountain Thank You

Big day today. I am on my first journey as a published author. Something I have dreamed about since I was a little girl writing in my very first journal. I fantasied about how amazing it would be to be able to say I was an author. Not just a struggling writer hoping to be published, but an official, publicly recognized author.

As I sit here on my flight to begin the book tour, I am over joyed by the reality of what is to come when I land. First of all, I will be greeted by my Godparents whom I have not seen in several years and the anticipation of their embrace is enough to almost make me cry. Okay, I did get a lump in my throat as I was typing that.

For those of you who have already read the book, you know how important these two people are to me. Life happens and people get caught up in their own day to day lives, sometimes years will go by without seeing one another, but the love never fades. I can hardly wait to be reunited with my family!

The next stop will be home. Their home, but also my home; a place of comfort. Set back within the familiar Pocono Mountains where the towering pines seem to embrace as you upon approach. I so look forward to the feeling of peace that can only come from walking through that door. Everything around me seems to stop in the moment I cross the threshold. Followed by a flow of inspiration unlike any I have ever experienced anywhere else.

I always get a great deal of writing done within those walls!

Tomorrow I will take a walk down the gravel road behind the house, following the small stream that runs along the grounds. I will journey my way into the pines. Filled with memories of a time not long ago when my siblings and I would pretend we were opening a portal to another world.

And I will think to myself, “This is where it all began”. This is where I became a writer.

I would take walks like these often stopping along the way to jot down something in my journal or snap a few photos before moving further down the road. Day dreaming of the day when I would come back to say thank you to this place, these people, this energy.

I can only describe this feeling as amazing. I know there is surely a better word for it, but for not that will due.