Tag Archives: hardship

Keep walking forward

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As typical of having been on vacation, I came home to a to do list longer than my arm.   Included in this was standing up for myself in a couple forums.  One with someone close to me, who is aging, and not a force to be reckoned with, another being the car rental place who tried charging me $179 more than what was contracted for.      I’m a passive person by nature.  I hate confrontation, but I’ve learned that in order to be in business for myself, and in order to take care of myself, I have to learn to do so.

Prayed the whole time I was handling both situations.    The first one was hardest, telling someone what they are saying is false, untrue,  no matter how strongly they rebelled against it.  And keeping my cool when I was being accused of something that I didn’t do, or would never do!   I think we were both shocked at how I handled the situation.  While I will lose some money in the deal, it is nothing compared to what could have been lost, had I not stood up for myself.  I will recover from this.     And I took NO satisfaction in having to tell someone I care about that what they believe to be true, was in fact, untrue.  But I did it.

Alongside that is the realization and reality that they are losing ground.   It’s easy to take others for granted, I mean, we do that to live.   We assume when we leave our yards, that all drivers we come in contact with are sober, able, and alert.    We have to drive defensively, and consciously, but we can’t leave our yard on a daily basis and think about the possible dangers of accidents, and sadly, more recently terrorists.

I was cleaning my studio and heard gun shots.   Now, I’ve lived around guns my entire life.   In past I wouldn’t think even twice about it, but not anymore.  I stop what I am doing and listen.   Say a prayer, and then try to move beyond what could be disastrous fear.    We have to have faith that we will go do our errands, go enjoy our vacation, if we are fortunate enough to have that opportunity, and know we will be home afterwards, tired, cranky, but alive and well.

I have heard some very painful, painful stories this past few days.  People that I know and care about are hurting, some with physical pain which in itself is a life changer, and some experiencing tremendous loss.  It’s always unfortunate when someone passes around the holidays.  The holidays are tough enough for most of us anyway.    And November has bee notoriously a very difficult month for me.  No matter what I focus on, and plan to counter the anniversaries of some very painful life changing events, it still comes up to smack me across my face, and try its best to rip my heart out through my throat.        I know this too shall pass.   It does.   But not without feeling it first.  I know I have no choice but to keep walking.   I think it was Churchill who said, and I quote “When in hell KEEP WALKING!”     Exactly.  Because we give in to the challenges, we stay right there in hell.     But sometimes it’s hard to forge ahead, and in the direction of where we need to go.    Sometimes the best part of a day is knowing you survived it.  It’s just a fact.

I have numerous things going on in my life, mostly all good, but not without stress.   The November crap hit me yesterday, and while it’s only Tuesday, I feel like it should be NEXT Friday!

The holidays are soon approaching.  Time to practice more patience with others, time to go the extra mile to help a neighbor, family member or friend.  Time to make time for someone who needs a hug, or a smile.    Time to let people you know how much you appreciate them, and even though we naturally take things for granted, many of us will experience difficulties that will remind us of how we do just that.

Here’s hoping your day is good, your life is going in the direction you want it to, and that you have a warm, comfortable bed to retire in tonight.     The older I get the more I come in touch with the fact that life really is about the little things, not the grandiose plans or dreams.  It’s about putting one foot in front of the other regardless of the terrain, and doing our very best on days when we know we aren’t feeling our best.    It’s just a fact of life.    My father used to tell us “to pull ourselves up by our boot straps!”      “You’re the only one who can do it for yourself”.     Today I can say, gratefully, that I did what needed to be done today, and while it wasn’t all pleasant, I did great.   Hope you did, too!

 

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Experience…

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“I remember standing on the corner at midnight, trying to get my courage up.  There was this long lovely dancer in this club downtown, I loved to watch her do her stuff.  Through the long lonely nights she filled my sleep, her body softly swaying to that smokey beat, down on Main Street…”

In 1980 I was at a Bob Seger concert at Boston Garden.  When it was announced that they were recording this concert for a new LP (yes, I’m that old), I was standing on the chair, screaming, jumping up and down!    It was a great concert.

In 1980 I was almost 20 years old.   At the concert with a guy that died a young death in a snowmobile accident.   He was 27 years old, with a wife and two kids.  We were long gone as a couple, but we both loved music.   We went to many concerts in the short time we were together.   He had big blue eyes, curly blonde hair, and was a big guy, someone who I felt protected with when we went to a “Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Colt” concert in Boston.      My god, there were more people tripping than straight.  But I digress.

I often relate music to times in my life.  More so than not.   The memories can be very vivid, and can raise me up or drop me to my knees.  It wasn’t until later in life that I learned what real hardship and heartache was.  And don’t get me wrong, as a young person, love is a hard thing, especially lost love, but now, I think back and smile, grateful for the memories.    Some things weren’t meant to be.   And as true with most things, as I lived out portions of my life, I would understand why things didn’t work out the way I wanted them to, or had hoped they would.   I see young people and I think “My God, was I really ever that young?  That innocent?”   Hell YES!

It’s been many years since I stood on that chair screaming and singing my lungs out.   And when people say “he or she has changed”, I smile and listen, but my thoughts are “Have they?”  Have I?     Yes, life has a way of smartening you up, experiences have a way of defining moments that change the course of your life.   But are we the same?

Best as my experience tells me, when you knew someone in your youth, if they were good, kind people, then chances are they still are.   And if they were an asshole?  They may still be!      Life dishes out suntans AND wet towels!   Sometimes the wet towels are so heavy it takes everything you’ve got to keep moving.   But experience has taught me it helps to toss the wet towels, grab from it all that you have learned, both good and bad, then drop it in its path, and continue on.

Maturity is a beautiful thing.   In life we learn all kinds of things about people, ourselves.   I learned at the age above in my life this relationship was not meant to be.  While there was pain, it passed.   And I’m very grateful that I wasn’t his widow at 27.

The kind of people that draw my attention are the people who have walked through hell and kept walking.    Because NO ONE’s life is perfect, and some of us have learned the value in being honest about it.   That doesn’t mean you stay sitting in the sand, with the wet towel around your neck.  It means you learn to be kinder to yourself, to accept change, and you learn the type of people who are deserving of your time, your heart.

Real people, with real issues.    I like people who have survived major shit.  Why?  Because they know who they are, they know what they don’t want, and what they do, and they value the smaller things in life, like the values of a person, not their mistakes.  And when we can finally accept that about ourselves, those of us who are blessed to live long enough to figure that out, there is comfort and peace in knowing, everything is as it should be, even if we don’t like it.

Very grateful for my life, and where I am today.  Is it perfect?  Not even close, but it’s mine, and I plan to make the most of it!

Blessings

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This afternoon I had a video call with a childhood friend.  A friend whose life changed drastically after a tragic accident.    As I watched him talk, process, thinking diligently about answers or response, my heart sang with joy that this very kindhearted, intelligent friend of my bro’s is still the same person he was probably 40 years ago now.

I can’t tell you how nice it felt to talk to him, he had me laughing hysterically over things that I “forgot” he knew.  You know, when time divides you from your childhood and life happens, sometimes the hardest part of life, and you hear old stories, or see reactions that you haven’t seen in years, it’s sweet.   It’s nice to know that SOME things, some people do not change.

After we spoke I was smiling, thinking about the kid, the teenager he used to be, and my mom and I started sharing stories, and we laughed to our hearts delight.    I always encouraged my brother to hang onto this guy as a friend.    He was such a decent being way back when.

Most of us are aware of the crudeness, the blatant evil that exists now, how beautiful it is to me that while life dished him out some major hard balls, that he’s still the kind, caring, compassionate and wonderful person he was before life put it’s ugly talon’s into our flesh.

In a world where you only know what someone wants you to know, how refreshing, how sweet it feels to revisit youth, and share a laugh or two regarding things long since forgotten, or buried.

I haven’t had it nearly as hard, nor do I care to compare heartbreak with anyone, but I know for myself, I have tried to always remain kind, to remain uninjured, still “soft”, so as not to harden like leather that many people have had happen.    It happens.  Life is not a picnic for all, and sometimes it’s just damn hard to walk through a day with all the knowledge or what is happening in this world.

But today, tonight, I am smiling that this kind soul, who knew me long before the many depressions or hardships that has occurred in my life, and that he, too, is still “soft”.  What a delightful conversation, and as I watched his eyes move as he was talking, I was reminded, pleasantly of how philosophical he has always been.  Even as a youngster, he really listened, and he answered questions after processing, and in spite of all the hardships we both have encountered, we were still able to conjure up things from our long ago past, and laugh hardy.

What a gift the past week has been for me.   Spending time with good, kind, “real” people, kindred spirits.   I’ve been truly blessed with these experiences.

 

Alas, direction

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Tonight I am flying high.  No, not on sugar, though I do have it running in my veins, but because what seemed to be a very long, much anticipated and grueling time that I have been “in waiting” for direction has finally arrived.     And comically, or rather ironically, I really don’t know the logistics or to what is going to unveil itself to me, but I can tell you, when the spirit hit, a couple weeks ago, I forced myself to walk in faith.  To just keep doing what I believe I was “supposed” to do.

Like negative space in a drawing, painting, or room, waiting for direction is anything but comfortable (unless you are privy in past to “wait for it”).  But I’ve lived long enough to know in order to have peace we have to find comfort in the uncomfortable, and those things that come after the longest time, and that time feeling like purgatory (No, I’m not catholic, but my mother was raised in this religion, I also pay attention to those people that are the happiest, the most peaceful, serene, and I listen to what is beautiful in their life), so when a break comes, a ray of light, or hope really, it is so incredibly wonderful.

In youth I was quick to jump, to “find” whatever it was I thought I was supposed to experience.  Maturity has taught me, nothing worth having comes easy.  Nothing.  And if it looks too good to be true?  It probably is!

So tonight I have five paintings started.  A still life, floral (2), a rooster, and  for the life of me I can’t remember what the fifth one is.  All started this evening when I got home from a day that felt purposeful, important, helping others, others who weren’t practicing the kind of drama that belongs on a stage (or in a helium balloon that floats fastly and quickly away), but real life, illnesses, frustration, and just needing a fresh advocate come in and help.  It feels so good to me to help others.   My last therapist wrongfully suggested the reason why I help others is because I get “kudos”.  I looked straight at her, without hesitation and said “If you believe this to be true?  You have never given to another from the goodness or your heart, and RECEIVED the loving touch of God blessing you.  I feel it.  I don’t seek for permission, admiration, or for others to pump up a broken soul.  I am not broken, I am not in need of friends, and I am certainly not in need to be validated as worthy.  I learned from the age of 10 or so that to give is to receive.   It’s one of my most cherished gifts in life.  And to fully understand this, give without the other person, or recipients KNOW you are doing it, and tell nobody, not.a.soul!

Of course, as with anything, there are extremes, and there are takers out there that will rob your heart from the generosity that we’re meant to feel, to do, to be.   That’s where lives lessons kind of kick you in the teeth.   Oh how I know this place, and I have no desire to return there, but I will.   That old familiar feeling of caring or giving too much to another will shadow a day, or two, but I’ll jump back in and try it all over again.  Just not necessarily with the same person, but sometimes, YES, the same person.

So, I really need to get to bed, but I don’t want to put the brush down.  It’s flowing, and creativity is at my optimum.  It’s a wonderful, wonderful, place to be.  So grateful I struggled so long in purgatory!   Because even if I wake up tomorrow and the creativity has fizzled, tonight?  What I’m feeling tonight?  Was worth the wait.  Keep in mind, I don’t know what’s ahead of me, I don’t know ANY details, I was just given a direction.   It’s exciting that something I once thought was so insignificant can and does bring me so much joy!

 

May peace be with you, and may you bask in the glory of “knowing” which road or path to take.  Love to you!

Poor santa

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I just got up and walked away from a painting I’m working on.  If truth be known I wish I had done this 10 minutes ago because I despise what I did to it.   Poor Santa!   I  believe it takes two to paint, and one person to stay “STOP!”     I have been using brighter colors than usual, and I’m excited about that, I think it is tell tale that I am seeing things differently than I did a few months ago, a couple few years ago.

I love Spotify.   When I’m in my car and hear a song I like, I ask Siri to take a note which lists the songs.  When I get home, turn on the computer I download these new songs.    I have playlists for cleaning, workout, painting, for each of my siblings, and people who have departed.   Music is so powerful.  It carries me through the darkness and then gives me a jolt, boost of energy when a song comes on that reflects positive memories.   My best friend went through an ugly divorce and could not listen to music for a couple of years.  I remember thinking to myself, if I did not have music, NEW music at that, I would probably not move.   But I know there was a time in my life when I couldn’t listen to music.   That’s all I want to say about that dark time.

Tom Petty is currently “running down a dream” as I type this.   I hope he dreams that this Santa I’m working on will look better in the morning light!  Music, Music, Music!     When you listen to music, do you sing like a rock star?  Find yourself holding a tube of paint as a mic?    I am not saying I do, just wondering about you! 🙂

This week is not going to be without stress, I’m afraid.   Dr.’s appointments, test results that could change a life drastically.  I have worked hard to stay busy and try to keep my emotions in check.   But it doesn’t take much for fear to jump in, and I find myself in the middle of a panic attack.   Why does life have to be so hard?   Recalling an earlier conversation I had with myself (Hey, I’m pretty good conversationalist), in which I reminded myself it was just a few days ago that I questioned “my shining hours” were actually some of the hardest of my life.   Now isn’t that something?    I was hot and didn’t even know it?  Haha!

If you think of it Tuesday morning, Wednesday afternoon, drop a prayer or send good thoughts my way.  I’d appreciate it!  And I hope you have a lovely Monday!   Is there such a thing???