Tag Archives: self confidence

On love

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It seems much of my life I have spent questioning my decisions.   I’m sometimes afraid to make decisions for fear that I’ll regret them, rarely has anything to do with the consequences.   I guess, in short, I lack self confidence, in some things, and then in others, I stand strong, tall, stoic to criticism with the ability to see clearly and fully that my decisions are just, sound, right.     Why the variance?

I had some crap dreams last night.   I will include that Trump was in one of them.  Rolling my eyes.    I don’t normally dream about our 45th President!   So why now?

When I access the parts of my life that include pain, disappointment (and we all have it), I weaken and have a tendency to “feel it” emotionally.

I’m reminded of a poem I came across at the young, ripe age of 15 that finds its way back in my life on occasion, and when I need it most.   The woman who wrote it was young at the time, and I remember reading something she had written on it saying she has never understood the depth of interest and popularity of it.     I found that interesting, because for me, this poem helped me stand up after assaults to my being or character.   I’ve shared this poem with many people during challenging parts of their life.   So why would it mean so little to her and so much to those of us who used to it carry us through difficulties?

She wrote about specific things that I have experienced, and I suppose, love and youth, or youth and love.   Earlier times in my life when love was defined differently than it is today (Thank God!).    “Kisses aren’t contracts”, we all “get this” when we experience the end of relationship, of death or loved one and we find ourselves alone.    The most important part for me was and still is ” So we begin to bring ourselves flowers”.    Hence, what I still continue to learn, to love and take care of myself versus others.

Of course I still lend a hand and my heart to others, but I’ve learned to first make sure I’ve filled my own needs.    I’ve also learned that it’s okay to have needs, it’s not selfish to take care of yourself, or put yourself first.    So perhaps, the answer to the author of the poem not understanding how or why her early poem was so popular is because, she learned with only one lesson to give to herself, or to love without losing herself.  And then there are many people like myself, who only after heartache and discord, learn, and even after that, continue the cycle until we finally “get it”.    Our hearts want one they want, but what if our idea of love is whacked?    I’m reminded that the “definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over hoping for different results”.

For whatever the reasons, I still love this poem, and while I no longer cling to it like I did as an innocent 15 year old girl, as a 55 year old woman, I reminisce and bathe in the memories of “love”, and how over the years I’ve learned to accept self love!

Here is the poem by Veronica Shoffstall

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Sensitivity, mental illness AND being right brained

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I read a LOT of self help books.     My mother said to me one day last year “I think it’s great that you want to improve upon yourself, but Donna, what about fun?    Well, I read art books, that counts for fun.  And I read articles online, a lot about cancer, guess that isn’t too fun…    But this comment of hers “came back” in my head this past week.

Thinking about sensitivity.   I have always been very sensitive.   Cry easily (ask my siblings, growing up with me, my parents didn’t know what to do with me and my emotions, so to eliminate stress for all, they would omit sharing things with me!   Now, this works, to an extent, but not all that great after that.   I found myself in my 30s and 40s before I started to really learn how to sit with stuff, how to deal with things that otherwise “hurt”.    Hey, they did their best, no blame there, just thinking about what it would be like to NOT be so sensitive?

I remember sitting in a 12 step meeting, an addict was struggling.  He shared how his newly found sobriety was good, but it was also overwhelming.  He realized booze helped numb him from his “oversensitivity” (also labeled that as a child).    He was an artist, and part of who he was was this beautiful sensitive soul, and he didn’t want to lose that.  But he was going bat shit trying to figure out how to cope with life on a daily basis without a numbing agent.    I sat there, shaking my head with understanding.  I thought EVERYONE cried at the end of Casper?!?   And a whole lot of other things.

Where is the balance?   I don’t know.   The older I get, the easier it becomes to screen or throw stuff out that I just don’t want to cope with.  I’m not talking about responsibilities, but others drama and things that frankly, bring me discomfort or discontent.   I have heard, numerous times, that most mental illness (including addiction) comes with an undiagnosed dual diagnosis.   I think about this, and I have many many friends who have been treated for one, and who still struggle.   It was like being diagnosed with ADHD just two years ago at 51.  Holy crap!    Medication made my life SO MUCH BETTER.  I was the first to judge another if they put their children on ADD or ADHD meds.  Now?  I encourage.  If this gives their child an opportunity to function better (and it will if they are truly ADD/ADHD), their life will be improved upon so much.  Mine has.

Most people my age are only diagnosed because their children were, first.     The things that I once thought were “normal” and that everyone shared, and now I realize, a big part of my self esteem and confidence being lower than it should.   Because I felt stupid, or lazy, sometimes crazy.   I have always known I’ve been wired different from others, but I always attached a negative connotation (just listed above) to it.   The truth is, I’m not stupid, nor lazy, nor crazy.   I’m not!  I struggle with mental illness and this isn’t fun.   But I’m not insane.

Most important thing for me to do has been and will be to learn how to cope….     I believe I have good self awareness, and I strive, I really do, to be a good person, do the right thing, one day at a time.    I’m not special in my struggles, I’m far from alone.   But you know what is worse?     It HAS to be having an undiagnosed, untreated mental illness.  And the stigma that is attached and has been to mental illness sadly keeps many lives struggling, with little quality.

I recently went off five medications after I was discharged from my outpatient therapy because I had missed too much time.  Another blog.   I weaned myself off, and started to pay attention to my body.   I believe I was overmedicated.   Now, I am starting to “feel” again, and my hands do not shake anywhere near what they did, which is part of why I stopped painting, teaching.   I’m doing well.   I’m focusing on the physical problems that need attention, and keeping a close check on my depression with close friends, through blogging, and a lot of prayer.

I want a quality life.   I want to feel peace, happiness.   I want to feel grief without losing myself to it, or several years of my life.   This means I have to learn to coping skills, and I have and am.     I need to accept that part of being me is being sensitive and to accept myself for who I am, and may very well always be.    I remind myself that God doesn’t make junk, and that I was designed to be perfectly imperfect.   We all were.

Today I’ve had a nice day, a peaceful day, a productive day.    I’m very grateful for this.   I’ll deal with tomorrow when it gets here.     Just want to say one more thing.  If you have never been diagnosed or treated for mental illness, educate yourself.  Read articles, peoples blogs, etc.   Only a very small percentage are really insane.  Most of us struggling with learning disabilities and mental illness are just trying to find our way out of the chaos that can ruminate in our heads.    I share on my experiences to help others know, they are far from alone.  I know it helps me to know this, too.

Happy Mental Health!

Who am I if not a teaching artist?

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Here I sit on a Saturday night with my animals and a dictionary I bought in 1984 as companions. 30 years ago? Where the hell has 30 years gone?

I am amongst change, and for the most part, choosing to make these changes. There is truly much excitement, happiness, a new challenge is exciting and I will grow from this, become a better person. But I have realized that my identity, my self worth is tied up in what I have done for the past 15 years of my life. Who am I if I’m not a teaching artist? A publishing artist? A self employed artist?

I remind myself that no matter where I go or what I do, I will always be an artist. It is up to me to keep my hands engaged with creativity, which I am pretty good at doing so. I design jewelry, I write, I bead, I paint, I draw, yada yada yada. Am I poo pooing my own talents? I know I have in past. In my teens and twenties I thought everyone could do what I do, that there was nothing special about my abilities. In my 30’s I realized, I was different. I realized that the years that I spent feeling “different” than my siblings, than my friends, than school mates, thinking different, coming alive at night and sleepy in the mornings, a lifetime of being called “overly sensitive or emotional”…. well, that is all part of who I am and who I was designed to be. And perhaps my feeling different than others was all a self centered narcissistic thought process?

Here’s the thing. I’m confident that I can be successful at that which I am choosing to participate in, that which I am shifting my focus and committing to. I KNOW I can… I already am! I see the opportunity, I have the vision, I was guided here, I WANT this! So why am I questioning my identity? Why is it (if it really is) wrapped up in what I have done in my past.

I guess it’s normal to feel this way, or to be thinking this way. I guess it’s because in some way I’m walking away from what I once believed was my “purpose”. Why can’t I have more than one purpose in my life? Why do I question that my purpose will not reveal itself to me just as it has done in past? And then again, will my future endeavor be much different than my past? Perhaps not with brush in hand, but with my heart, my outreaching arms?

In past I have habitually given more of myself than I had to give. In relationships, in work, in all. My passion provided me with the endurance to do this. Perhaps it is aging? Perhaps it is being guided (which I do believe is true) that I am shifting away from that which I know to that which I do not know. But then again, as a person with a sixth (and a sick) sense, I truly believe this is the natural evolution for me. This is what I’m supposed to do.

I remember in my 20s I was constantly seeking purpose. It was ridiculous. As I aligned with that which I was being guided to, I didn’t question it. I just “knew” and all that was laid out in front of me provided the path to purpose.

I am grateful I no longer see myself only being worthy in a relationship. I have, and what I hope will be the rest of my life, realized that being in a relationship, a committed relationship is certainly nice, and would fill lonely times, but it does no longer defines me. I am not who I am because of who I am with. My sense of self, my identity is not as someone’s girlfriend, wife, fiancé. I guess that is why I’m feeling tripped up about my identity being tied up in my accomplishments as an artist, as a teaching artist. The truth is, I will hold dear to me all the years, every student (well, minus a couple) that I had the privilege to teach, to introduce them to their creative side that many never knew they had. What a beautiful thing! So many wonderful memories, so many wonderful friends. And I’m not planning on leaving this industry totally, but certainly stepping away from it on a much larger scale than I have in past.

I’ve known for several years that I want to teach art, painting, drawing, whatever it may be, to cancer patients. I want to provide them with something fun, something healing as they go through the many challenges of treatment. This is how I want to teach now. I have not the means to do so yet, but I will. If it’s Gods will, I will. Am I feeling guilty that I’ve chosen to now seek financial stability in my life? I want to live out my days with no worries of disconnects, overdrafts. Do I feel like I am selling myself out? Hell, who knows. I don’t think so. Just as I have always known there was something else out there for me, and I am having a lot of fun in doing so. I have a reunion with old friends, meeting new ones… I AM happy with what I am doing…. so why am I feeling this conflict within myself?

I have been particularly bad at giving due credit to difficult days. When sick, or tired I rarely would attribute these things to my foul mood, or my lack of ambition. It was because I was lazy, or because I was bad, wrong, yada yada yada. You cannot see this, but I am sitting here nodding. Perhaps this is just a difficult day? Perhaps I am tired? Perhaps I am getting ill? It doesn’t have to be something monumental, nor do I need to be critical of myself. It just IS how I am feeling today!

I love it when people who hardly know me will “diagnose” my feelings. Seriously, like really? The thing is, I can be this way with others! I think I know what is best for them and I’m sure in some cases, I do! It’s much easier to see another person’s problems and solutions to those problems than to brave my own.

I have been thinking today that what if my purpose is to just be? What if I take all the pressures of perfection, of production out of my life and just wake up each day, take it as it comes, and do my best and feel that my best IS good enough?

Now, see, aren’t you glad you stopped by to read this sorted tale of confusion? I was asked the other day how I was….. My reply was “Well, given that my biggest problem today is deciding whether to keep my hair long or cut it short again, I think I’m doing VERY WELL!” Tis true. If that is the only thing on my mind, then I have a pretty good life, don’t I? So am I CREATING this internal conflict to sabotage my happiness? Oh yeah, I’m fairly adept at that. I think we all can be.

Because I am changing directions of my sails doesn’t take from me who I am. My god given talents as an artist will remain and I will still delve into them, perhaps enjoy them more without deadlines! Another thing I have done in my past is taken whatever enjoyable thing I was doing and turned it into a business. Seriously! I loved to crochet, so I took it the next level and published with Leisure Arts, McCall’s… I loved floral arranging so I became a department head and full time designer doing such! I saw decorative painting and said “OMG, I can do this!” So I did! I love beading, designing jewelry, so let’s start selling it! I love to write, so I am working on a book and going to write articles for women’s magazines. Now, there isn’t anything wrong with doing these things. For one, it kept me well stocked in supplies thus assuring my “fix”. Good God, even flea marketing with girlfriends became a business. They will tell you how well I did at turning over furniture and making a profit on it…. even after using it for a couple of years!

But the constant shifting of furniture, my three season porch constantly filled with my next “treasure”… it grew old. I now want to simplify my life, quit the hustle and bustle of producing and accepting each day as a gift, and as a person worthy of that gift without accomplishing, or conquering the world?

Many times I have heard “I wish I were an artist, I wish I were you, I wish I had your life”… Well, you know, I do have a good life. When all is said and done, I do have a good life. But being a creative soul comes with it’s pitfalls too. When I am not able to create, I become restless, irritable. I think of Ernest Hemingway, and how deadly his writer’s block became. Well that and a whole lot of booze. I’m not implying that I would think about slicing my wrist if I had artists block (again), but let’s just say you wouldn’t want to live with me then! OMG…. Oh my God! What if I am feeling this way today because I fear that I will become that bitchy artist who does not produce? And more? What if I am feeling this way today because I have only ever based my self worth on what I accomplish? Well, holy shit Sherlock! Perhaps I’m onto something!

Now, as Scarlet O’Hara said…. “Tomorrow is another day”…. let’s see what it brings! I do know one thing. I am planning to take back my maiden name and ditch the name that came with the ex husband. He’s not around now, so why should his name be? I think I’m coming home. I think the changing sails will bring new adventures, memories, and a return to myself. I only kept his name because it was my “published” name. That sucker is on it’s way out!

Exercising the left side of my brain….

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Have been working diligently on organizing the piles of paperwork that make up the last 10 years of my life.    My career, somehow made it through these beehive shaped piles.   I have another 3 or 4 weeks, 40 hours a week, to go to get it in shining mode.   I must admit, it has felt good, actually great, working on it, making progress, using that left side of brain!

Part of my organizing is a portfolio of sort, photos of my work.    I sometimes, particularly in the winter when I am able to double up on isolation, I wonder why I  do this.  Why do I sit in my house and paint, work, paint… I feel discouraged, my confidence level goes down.  Well, in putting together this ‘photo portfolio’ I was in awe of what I have accomplished, created!   Pretty darn cool!   I sat back tonight, looked at the partially completed album and could see my art change.  Organizing by year, and I can pretty much remember what year I designed what in, I could see the difference in my colors, in my work or lack of work during difficult years.  The first year I split with my ex I barely designed at all.  I was busy remodeling my home to accommodate a studio/classroom.   I was also busy travel teaching, conventions, and more.   As I was getting the paperwork in order I couldn’t believe how many years have gone by.   Honestly they were all challenging years, but where did they go?   Also the year I was diagnosed with and started treatment for breast cancer(s) that was a light paper weight year.     It’s been interesting studying the work I did, when I did it, and seeing how it relates to how I was feeling…  well yah… it’s art!

I sell pattern packets which are individual instructional “lessons” for decorative artists.   I also publish in magazines.  Another surprise for me in my hoeing out are the amount of packets I have, and the amount I have online.  I have over 150 packets and only 48 on line in only one place.   I’m working on that.   Perhaps?  Perhaps if I get my shit together I can actually starting making money???

The girls and I are headed to bed early tonight.  It’s been a busy week, but a good tired.    Hope you have a great evening!   Hope someone makes you smile, laugh, and I hope that you feel loved!  We all need to feel that!  ♥

Post gig!

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I had a teaching gig in New Hartford, CT this weekend.  Such a great group of women.  Lots of laughter and smiles.   I drove home after class today and upon my arrival home my body was just spent.  Brought my mother home who fends for my animals when I’m away, and now I am crashing.

I think there is a 20/20 on tonight, cannot remember if it’s tonight or last night.   Will be nice to relax and enjoy some quality television.

I sit in my house, paint, and am isolated particularly in the winter.  I question my existence, I question my talent, I question my career… and then after I teach my self esteem, self confidence is restored and I question how I could ever question my work.    I love seeing the smiles on faces when students are painting.  I love it when they “venture out or go outside the box” and change the design and LIKE what they did!   They have allowed their own creativity to flow.  They have put down the dagger of fear and picked up their paintbrush with confidence, with pleasure, with contentment.  

Women need other women.   No matter how “good” or “supportive” the men in our life are, we need to spend time with other like minds.   The best laughter I have ever had was with my sisters, my brother followed by time with girlfriends.   The majority of us “get” each other.  

I sit tonight, in peace, with satisfaction, with pride that I taught a great class.   After all the years of teaching I still get nervous before the class, I question whether I will succeed or fail…  Truth is, so far I’ve haven’t failed, so why do I fear it?   And if I wasn’t at my best, I should rest assured that decorative artists are so kind, caring, giving.   They would pitch in and help me…because that’s what they do.   I am grateful for my work.  I am grateful for the talent that was given me at birth, and I’m grateful to share this with others, to offer a helping hand, confidence to others.  Joy.

When I think of what I have accomplished on my own I wonder how I could ever doubt my stamina, my motivation.  I wonder how I got through the difficult years after Jim & I split, when I was teaching mere days after breast reconstruction surgery out of need.  I question how I traveled 2-3 weekends of a month, and come home to teach 3-5 classes a week in my studio.    I’m 10-15 years older, I’m tired, but my love for art is still strong.  My need to create, likewise, and the feeling of accomplishment following teaching is, indeed, still present.

Still, with all of this, it feels wonderful to come home, kick off my shoes, change into comfy lounging clothes, sit and take a big sigh of relief.   Home, home…there is no place like home.

No longer is there a sense of hopelessness…..

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As U2’s “With or without you” is playing in the background, I am thinking about a conversation I had with a friend earlier.    It takes incredible courage (in my opinion) to open up your heart to love.   As with anything, there are absolutely no guarantees, and I have learned the hard way that there is no security in a relationship, in a marriage.   I remember when that “trust”, that “innocence” was broken with me.   10+ years into a marriage for him to end it with a woman 16 years his junior.   Today I could not care less, he did me a huge favor, but at the time I dramatically felt like my life was over…. far from it.

Sometimes when I am lonely I think about what it would be like to meet someone, to fall in love, after all, single life has it’s ups and downs.   I remember a line out of “When Harry Met Sally”…..forgive me if I don’t get this correctly, I’m rusty…  Sally and her (old) boyfriend don’t want children or commitment because they could have sex wherever they wanted… in the kitchen…etc., and then one point in the movie she said “But the thing is, we never DID have sex in the kitchen, or any of the places we said we could!”   Ultimately learning that he didn’t want to marry her and her probably not being fully honest with herself.   At any rate, single life, I can do whatever I want, when I want.  I can paint until the wee hours of the morning, I can leave messes and clean them up later, on and on and on.  While these things are true, and I enjoy the freedom of such, it doesn’t make up for someone holding your hand, sharing time together. 

One seminar I taught this year I asked a group of approximately 20-25 women how many were single and lived alone, and was shocked to find 3/4’s of the room raise their hands.  I guess there is nothing special about my singlehood!  

In a conversation with a friend recently I shared about loneliness.   I shared how I have to keep myself busy, or my mind heads to dark places, places in which I shouldn’t nor can allow myself to go.   Just like years, decades ago when I thought my life was over when my marriage ended, today I shake my head and laugh at that.   Of course it didn’t help that he was threatening to sell the house on me…believe it or not, I was a sliver of the person I am today, experience gave me that.   But then I would sit in my spot, like a good wife, waiting for him to decide if he was coming home or not.   My girlfriend, Janice said to me one day “How long are you going to do this, Donna?”   My answer?  “As long as I need to do this”.  It was only a couple months after that when I stood up for myself, realized he couldn’t sell the house out from under me because my name was on it!   Fuck you!   I started to fight back, to fight for my life, I didn’t know which direction I was or wanted to go, but I had valuable knowledge.   I knew where I DIDN’T want to go!   I was done being a door mat.   I remember very well the day I went to my ex-husband’s employment where both he and his girlfriend worked.  I asked to speak to him.  He came out, looked at me with anger, an attitude of “how dare I come to his place of employment?”   The only words I had to say to him were…. “I want a divorce!”   Man did that feel good!    Well, after that for several weeks he started finding excuses to stop by the house, etc., but it was too late.  Go with your little girl, go away, leave me be.   I started to be proactive with my life, I quit my job with reasonably good pay, went to a job at minimum wage which was $6 an hour.  I didn’t care.  I was starting over and I wanted to entertain, to try my hand at living a creative existence, believing in the talents that time allowed me only to do a few hours a week, or month.  After all, married life is different from singles life.   Now I eat when I want, then that wasn’t “allowed”.   Yes, when I think about how controlled I was, allowed myself to be I can no longer identify with that person.   As I started to break outside of his “safe circle” the marriage started to disintegrate.   I started to design in needlecraft for Leisure Arts & McCall’s and because I was working full time, too, and the majority of our marriage carried the insurance, I was tired of being told that I didn’t need television, although when he wanted to watch a football game I can remember how he went out of his way to fix the antenna so it came through for him.   My first royalty check was $2,400.  I took it upon myself to go and order, buy, a large satellite dish.  (Remember them?)   Eight years living without cable surely wasn’t the end of the world, but it was something I wanted….. so I got it!  This, however, was the beginning to the end.

When I think back on that time I cringe.   Poor Jim, the next and last serious relationship I had, paid the piper for the “sins” of his predecessor.    No one, particularly a man, was going to tell me what I could or couldn’t do!   He caught on quickly though and now as I look back on that, with a smile on my face, I realize he used reverse psychology on me.  Too funny.

I used to worry about what would become of me?  Where would I end up as I age?   I am already feeling physical limitations on what I once was able to do in taking care of my house.   I never planned to be single in my 50s, but hey, there are much worse things that could happen.   I think about the Golden Girls, when they first started the series I believe they were in their 50’s.    My best friend and I have a pact that we will live together, perhaps her sister, and whomever else.  The plan is to get a house big enough where each of us have our own bedroom, sitting room, bathroom, and we would share kitchen quarters.    Hey, futures have a way of falling down in midflight, perhaps that will never happen but I do know, wherever I end up, I will be okay.    I have “started over” a couple times in my life, I can take care of myself.  That doesn’t mean I am anti men.  Truly not, but I believe in myself today in ways I never thought I could or would ever. I pursued a career in teaching decorative painting.  While I cannot and will never be able to say I am the most paid, or the most popular, that is okay.  I have accomplished what I had set out to do and that was to be a national teacher.  I knew I could do it, and I did it.   I am not only a strong woman, a survivor, but I am a determined one!    I will be okay!

One positive about having some crappy painful things happen is that you learn what is and isn’t important in life.   I no longer live in the fear that I once did.  I no longer worry about what tomorrow will bring, as I know I will do my best, and what will be, will be….. Okay, sing with me “The futures not ours to see….”     I will be okay.

So, the point of this share today I guess is to start believing in ourselves.   Drop the fear, the nervousness about the unknown, pick one thing you want to do for yourself and do it.    I have chosen my next journey which I will begin in January with a girlfriend and frankly, I’m excited about it.

Hey, I may have a small home, drive an older jeep, but I love my jeep!  And I love my home!   I also love (for the most part) what I do for work, when I am able to work.  I’m a pretty fortunate woman.  God has been good to me, but it didn’t come easily, nor without hard work.   This year I started to look at my accomplishments and realized… Wow!   I did what I wanted to do!  When exactly did that happen?  It just happens with perseverance, baby steps.   Jeff Olson speaks of consistency, this man has made companies trillions and trillions of dollars with that one principal.  Keep showing up!  

I shall now retire to the warmth of my bed, fight with my animals for a comfortable spot to sleep.   I hope I get a good nights sleep, but if I don’t, I will survive.  Tomorrow I will get up and do the best I can of what is in front of me, that is all anyone can ask of me, that is all I can ask of myself.    It will be more than good enough because I will give it my all one more day.   Gratitude, that I can, mentally, physically, gratitude that I am where I am and unlike many New Englander’s tonight, I have power, heat.   Many are without due to an ice storm.  Gratitude, gratitude, it truly is an attitude!

Sweet sheeps!

Life is trial by fire….defining success

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Recalling a time when my sister was going thru some challenging times with her son.  “I don’t know what to do” she said with much frustration in her voice.  “Well, have you looked in the instruction manual that he came with?” I asked!

Today I am so aware that life is trial by fire.  We can learn in school about history, we can even learn about sex, diseases, things we can do to make our lives better, easier, richer, but it can only teach us so much and the rest is up to us.     Life IS trial by fire and some embers are hotter than others.

Most of my life I felt like everyone ELSE had the answers and secret to life.  I was the one left out- the one left standing from the musical chair game of life.  This was evident by the amount of people I would seek counsel in with my problems.  Today I have a few confidants that I depend on.    Thankfully I have finally matured to a point where I can and do trust myself, my judgement, and approval seeking is at a minimum.  I now know, we are all here doing our best.  No human being came with an instruction manual or a Guide to the Secrets of Life.   True, our upbringing and breeding can and does play a big part of our knowledge and principals which may make our lives easier, richer… But take away the fancy cars, big houses, designer clothes, what is left?  We are all on the same playing field.  Things do not define success for me, growth does, being a good person does, helping others…

What is so interesting in this world we live in, and in this Country, Land of the Free, Home of the Brave… WE get to decide what defines our success, what we want to do with our lives.   For me, I am drawn to down to earth people who help others.  What turns my head is a cancer survivor GIVING of his precious time to a newly diagnosed cancer patient.  Assisting an older person with their groceries, or shoveling, whatever it may be without being asked.  A Veteran going to visit other veterans in a Nursing home.  A busy mother who takes in another child while his/her parent is recovering from illness.  A retired person who without being asked mows your lawn just because he knows it will make your life easier.   A person who reaches in his pocket and gives a few dollars to the homeless, regardless of what their situation is or was.

Yes, life IS trial by fire.  Sometimes we get it “right” immediately, other times we may struggle with it.   The trick, I have found, is to keep your eyes and head pointed in your own direction, to your own mirror, reflecting what is important to YOU not anyone else.  Then and only then will you start to feel true success.  If you are basing your success compared to someone elses accomplishments or lack thereof,  you could very well be stripping yourself of your own uniqueness, beauty and purpose.

Today I’m going to let others live their lives, define their success(es) and I shall do the same of myself….