Tag Archives: strength

Sadness

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Today was a challenging day for me.   As fate would have it, I learned that someone I care about is ill, very ill.   Further complicated by a parting of ways between us.  I couldn’t even remember the incident, or exactly what happened, I knew I was upset, but the “final” visit, I have no memory of.    When I learned of this, haphazardly, I felt like I was going to toss my cookies.    It doesn’t sound good, not at all.

I had also been inadvertently told that she had just learned of this last night, and was home from hospital today.  All I could think of is being left alone to think about what she was told.  I had a full list of things to do today, rose early to do them.  The list was set aside two hours upon rising after learning this news.

When you learn something like this, it really doesn’t matter what happened.  I think it’s important for each person to acknowledge and say what they couldn’t say prior.  And that was the case when I walked into her home, her bedroom where she was resting.  I didn’t know how or what I’d find, I just said a prayer for strength and courage and went and sat with her on the bed.  It’s a HUGE bed that she hates.   I wasn’t sure if she was happy to see me or not, but I grabbed her very soft hand and said “I’m sorry”.     She looked away.   “I have something to tell you”, I nodded.   What she shared next was one of the “moments” I hadn’t recalled, and a bit of it came back.    She expressed how hurt she was, and how she didn’t even want to address it or try to fix it with me.  “Friends don’t do that to other friends”.   I said “Your right, they shouldn’t”.

It wasn’t easy hearing how I had hurt her.   And sadly I don’t recall the incident she spoke of, I had thought our estrangement was just a mutual thing after a couple bad experiences.  I said the words that I needed to say, “I’m sorry I hurt you”.

I helped adjust her pillows, asked if there was anything I could do for her.  Asked if she wanted me to leave, “no, I don’t want you to leave”.     Then she shared another incident that hurt her and I guess the look on my face said what I didn’t need to verbalize.   It was nothing I had done, nothing I could do.   She said I’m sorry, I thought you had.

My mom showed up a few minutes later, I guess she knew where to find me.  I had dropped her off to get her car that was being serviced, the second $400 we put into it this month, and just drove away.     I didn’t know if I should go see her.  I wanted to.  But I didn’t want to upset her.  I just didn’t want her sitting alone with this news.   What happened between us didn’t matter, was unimportant.

She was very tired, and apologetically needed to give in to sleep.  We said our goodbyes.   I held her hand before I left and told her I would be in touch, and that she could call me if she wanted or needed something.   She thanked us for coming and said “Donna, I’m really glad you came”.    As I walked out, drove home, I felt numb.   But numbness isn’t really the word for it, if it hurts, its not numb, right?

This is a person who I had spent many hours with, driving around back roads, in my home, or hers.  She’s almost 20 years older than me,  I’ve always tended to have older friends.   We have shared with each other things we’ve never shared with another.   We were good, close friends.   I was frustrated with her about a few things that need not be shared.  I was even angry at one point.    It wasn’t until she had brought up what she needed to say that I vaguely remembered it.

I thought about the couple things that I had remembered, that annoyed me.   And I questioned, was she sick then?  Is that why she forgot to do what she promised to do?    And at that very moment I was reminded AGAIN, how important it is that we be kind to others.  We know not what will eventually unveil itself.   It never occurred to me that she was sick when this broken promise happened.   I felt like shit, for a few minutes.  I allowed myself to feel bad about that, but then I had to forgive myself.  I didn’t know.  And it wasn’t that I was unkind to her, although her words said it was a look I gave her.

We think we have all the time in the world to make amends, forgive, or fix things.   We don’t.   This was a blatant reminder for me of the things I take for granted.  And I’m a pretty grateful person.    But I guess I had more to learn.

So, I decided I needed to go to bed, and I opened my bedroom windows.  We are being plummeted with rain.  Rumors are there was a tornado 40 miles from us.   I laid in bed, realizing, I needed to write about this.   It’s all consuming.    And now I’ll go crawl back into bed and listen to the rain fall, and think of what perfect weather it is for this day.   It should be a dismal, damp, wet night both inside and outside of my home.     Because today was a hard day, and I’m very saddened by what I have learned.

That’s all I need to say.  The rest I will wrestle with myself.    If there’s someone you care about and are at odds with, rethink it.   Is it really that important?  Do you have both sides?  Is the silence worth the loss of time?    Only you can answer that.

Grateful I went to see her.   If you want to say a prayer for her, I’m sure she would appreciate it.     Goodnight.

 

Reviewing processes

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The past few weeks I’ve been reflecting and dissecting what I would like to do with the rest of my life.  What do I like?  What don’t I like?  What are my dreams?  Are they feasible?  What are my needs?   I’ve also been writing up a business plan for myself, which in itself has been a very interesting journey.  I’ve changed it three times.

I’ve also participated for two days (another four to go) in an art challenge to post pics of my art on my facebook page for six days.  This, too, has been an interesting process.   I’m reviewing photos that I have, which aren’t exactly organized like someone dominantly left brained would do, but I’m only 25% there, so I’m giving myself a break!

4-5 years ago my life came to a crashing halt.  I couldn’t get out of bed, I didn’t want to paint, write, and was incapable of making any decisions for myself.   Fortunately my strong mother jumped in and helped, and after hospitalization for two weeks, I was diagnosed with Major Clinical Depression.  This was not the first time, but the fourth.  I must say to you, it’s been hell trying to come back from it.

Why do I mention such a personal thing?  Because I’m an idiot!   🙂   Most people do not confess such, because of the stigma attached to mental illness.  I want others to know who are suffering with such, it’s okay, you’re not a freak, you aren’t crazy, you are sick, and encourage you to get help.  For me it meant some serious psychological drugs, many therapy sessions, a lot of writing, a lot more of praying.  It is still a monkey on my back, but I am learning, everyday to replace the negative talk in my head.  Some days I’m successful with this, some days not.

Back to the art challenge, as I’m surfing through pages of photos of my artwork, which also have pics of other aspects of my life, love, marriage, breast cancer, family, friends, pets, artwork, gardens, etc… I must say, I feel good about things that I have accomplished in my life.  In spite of the crap that came rolling into it, I’m still standing, and there are days, still, too many, that it’s very hard for me to get out of bed and face the day.   But it was nice to see things I’ve done, the magazines my artwork and needlecraft designs were in, interviews with me as a visual artist, and a fiber artist.  I even had artwork on the cover of magazines I think twice.  How quickly these accomplishments fall by the way side when you’re looking at it through the dark eyes of depression.

So, I’m feeling a bit chipper tonight, painted a little bit today.  Plan to spend a few hours tomorrow doing the same.   We are supposedly having an arctic cold blast this weekend.  I’ve stocked up on the necessities, my mom is here visiting for the weekend.  If I don’t kill her, by the time Monday comes around I should be in good shape! 🙂

The message today is… Hang on.   Hang strong.   Celebrate the good days, and do all you can to survive the bad.   It may be worth your while to dive into some pictures yourself.

Sending you peace and love

 

 

 

In my youth

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I’m painting (on canvas) for the first time in months, listening to a playlist on Spotify that depicts my life and times in words, songs.   “Rocky Mountain High” just played, which was, I believe, our 8th grade graduation song.   John Denver got me through MUCH in my youth.   The, what seemed insurmountable problems of youth, which seemed so very difficult, something like a blemish on my face, or my favorite Levi’s not clean for a date, etc.   I think about it sometimes, as I drive by the local high school and see these YOUNG KIDS and I question, “Was I really ever that young?”    And then, putting into proportion the immense deep feelings I had for a kid that I had hoped would last into adulthood.  I’m laughing now.  IF ONLY relationships were that easy!  ha!    But it’s nice to think about being so young, so innocent.  And certainly the woes of that time were real, and feelings are so deep because you’ve yet to experience life, to experience loss, to experience the pain of broken hearts or dreams.    I’m not meaning to sound cynical, not at all.   I guess I’m just saying, the innocence and naivety are covered with blankets of protection of our youth.

I’ve often written about music.  How important it is to my well being, to my mental health.  I simply don’t know how I could ever live without it.    In thinking about life’s necessities, and if I were given only one luxury, would I choose music over art?    I think I probably would!  And yet art is so important to me, ingrained in every aspect of my being.   I’m so fortunate that I have known passion for such.   I’m grateful for that.  I’m grateful for where my paint brush has taken me in life, and all the good it has brought me to.

Now, a song by Toni Child’s “I’ve got to go now”.   A song about a woman in love with an alcoholic, who tosses her and his children aside for the almighty bottle.   This song actually relates to the three major relationships I’ve had in my life.  All alcoholics.  The first, who physically beat me, the second who emotionally did, and the last, the one who gave me so much, and likewise, took so much of me when we parted.     “Must be addicted to all this pain, because I keep coming back for the shame.  Dear God give me the strength to leave, I’ve got to keep going, keep going this time”.   Powerful song, and an epitaph of my past relationships.    Listening to this song does not always make me sad.  Shat it does is get me in touch with the courage I have mustered in my life.  The starting over, the strength and fortitude that comes when you say goodbye to the one you love, because you know, if you stay, you will die before he.

Now, “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks.  I LOVE this song.  It’s been, what I call, my “recovery” song.  Questioning, seeing, surviving.  “Oh, mirror in the sky.  What is love?  Can the child within my heart rise above?  Can I sail through the changing ocean tide?  Can I handle the seasons of my life?”   I go to this song when I am questioning,  seeking strength, seeking guidance.  Doubt becomes certainty, becomes strength, endurance, and then even on top of that becomes the silver lining of it all.  “But time makes you bolder, and children get older, and I’m getting older too…”   Life, learning, lessons.   I’ve become the person I wanted to be, when it comes to morals, standards, strength.  And how did I do that?   Only after the landslide took me down.

Life these days is pretty straight forward.   I am working hard on myself, and my home.  I am focused, aligned, very content with my life.  Change is coming, I’m not afraid of it, nor am I afraid of how it will change me.    I’ve got a track record now.   All the difficulties have thickened my skin, but not my heart.  My heart is strong, my thoughts are clear, and damn, I just had pistachio ice cream!

Music?  A necessity for me.  I have an italian friend who says she couldn’t live without olive oil.  Me?  I couldn’t live without music.   What’s your necessity?

And now I’ll close as “Rhythm of my Heart” Rod Stewart, is playing.”The rhythm of my heart is beating like a drum, , with the words I love you rolling off my tongue, Never will I roam, for I know my place is home, where the ocean meets the sky I’ll be sailing!”  Have a great weekend!  Chase your desires, your dreams, or hell, just get yourself an ice cream, and sit and listen to your favorite tunes.    Love to you…

 

Defining a man

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If you judge others based on appearance and tattoos, you may clearly bypass a beautiful being.

Tough, rugged, by virtue of his turbulent upbringing.  I think his tattoos serve like my scars do, a place where he has been, that has helped mold or shape him into who he is today, and perhaps places that he never wants to return.   Evidence of an imperfect life lived out perfectly.   Because the harshness that he experienced has been redirected, chiseled into strength.

A husband, a father first, above all.  Selflessly he gave up his beloved motorcycle for the purpose of spending more time with his family, and to assist in his goal to always be there for them.  A family man, a man who loves his beautiful, intelligent wife without boundaries.  A man who took this beautiful, intelligent, complicated young soul as his son.  He IS his father, his dad.

He helps his neighbors, refusing monetary gift.   The other day I heard something out my window, there he was on a dangerous ladder, up 15′ or more in the air on its top wrung, rescuing the neighbors cat who had perched himself up a tree.    The same man who the day before mowed my lawn.   He’s never asked why I don’t or cannot do it.  I will tell you.  I have a push mower.  And if I use it, the vibration causes my hands to go numb, and it remains for several days, leaving me unable to do much.

He and his family have shoveled my walks in the winter, gifted me with a plate of whatever they were barbecuing, holiday treats that bring a smile to my face and make my taste buds dance.

He goes off to work each day to a job that most men wouldn’t even consider.  And comes home each day to their home snuggled in the home behind me, perched next to the woods, and so nicely kept.  Unless there is a storm, and his expertise is needed elsewhere.  Then?  There is no telling how many days he will be gone.  He returns to his family which also includes two cats,  one, a sphinx, who suffered the same fate as he, blind in one eye.  And yet, he still does this potentially dangerous job, and obviously WELL.

I cannot tell you the numerous times he has helped me with his neighborly friendliness.   I cannot tell you how many times I’ve looked out my kitchen window and smiled at the making of this family.   I once would look out in guarding protection of a single mother with her young child.  Now?  Now I look out and see a family who enjoys their life together.  Who spends their off time together doing quality things.  Now?  I feel protected!

Heroes come in many forms.  And while I know he would never want, nor consider himself a hero, I am grateful for his friendship.   He is proof to me that one can change their lives, with intense hard work, and the constant flow of choices that he makes, for the betterment of himself and family.

At times I’ve seen him followed by a dark cloud that he can’t seem to shake.   It’s at those times when I wish he would see himself as those who love him do.  An incredible, perfectly imperfect being that makes this world a better place!

The next time you judge someone on their looks, their tattoos, I suggest you take a second look, a deeper look.  You just may be walking away from one hell of soul that would bring light to your dark days.  Who helps without judging, and for me?   Makes me feel that I am okay, perfectly imperfect with all my “shit”, and deserving of others help and friendship.

I dare ya!

Sophie (Loren)

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It’s not always easy doing “the right thing”.   The past week I have been thinking about a german shepherd that I rescued, and eight months later placed into gsd rescue program.   The past couple of days I’ve been thinking of her non stop.  When I went on facebook tonight, I realized why.  It was one year ago today that I placed her.

I didn’t want another dog, but she needed help, so I took her in.   She was just 14 months old, missing half of her fur, her ears were angry red, she cried if you touched them.   She scratched herself ALL THE TIME.   Sophie had major allergies and did so well on GOOD dog food ($50 a bag).  But I didn’t have the means to give her this.

The morning she left we laid on the couch together.  She rested her head in my chest and just looked up at me with those big brown eyes.   I couldn’t hold back the tears.  Goodbyes are so hard.    In my life I have learned, even goodbyes that bring relief are not easy, and for me, not painless.  I’ve had a few.

I’m trying to hold onto gratitude.   How well she looked, last time I saw pictures of her, and how happy she looked.  She was one smart dog.   She was just so big and strong, and at the time I was having physical problems, well still do, but I remember how bruised I got a couple of times with her.  She didn’t even know her size, her strength.   The fastest dog I’ve ever seen, and my aussie was a tennis ball and Frisbee chaser.  Sophie had it all over him, hands down.

So I’ve shed a few tears tonight, thinking about her, I do miss her.  I never thought I would give up an animal, ever, always had them.   Last year at this time I had two dogs and three cats.  Every woman needs this much responsibility!   Now I have one dog and two cats, and my cats are geriatric.  In fact, my Maine Coon who spends summers outside, hasn’t shown her face in the past couple days.  I am concerned.  But I remember being concerned one time when I hadn’t seen her for a week (We are talking probably 12-14 years ago now), and she came crawling back.  I think she got locked into a building across the road, and finally found her escape.   I am thinking back on the tears I shed that day when she came home, tears of joy.

My little terrier was groomed the other day.  I typically do it.   Can’t say as I like the looks of her head the way it is, I prefer the ragdoll look, but she sure does smell good, and her fur is so soft.   Unlike my aussie who pranced around and thought he was the cats meow after he was groomed, she ran under the ottoman and stayed there for the day.

I know I did right by Sophie.  I know because it was one very hard decision to make and follow through with.  I’ve found that doing “the right thing” is typically the hardest choice, and the most difficult to do!

Time to go to bed, and hopefully sleep will come.   I hope! I hope! I hope!   And I hope you have a great day!

Happy Birthday, my friend

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We were so young when we met.  My God, were we ever that young?   The first time I met her she came to my house with my brother.  Dressed classy, wearing a very wide brim hat, my brother introduced her as his date.   I laugh when I think of this, because I know her very well know.  She has this one look where she puts her head up in the air, as if daring fate to come get her.    At first I thought she was a snob.  I suppose that is why I laugh when I think of that face.

A disastrous marriage to my only brother, two sons that have brought so much joy to my life.  A friendship that has spanned over broken relationships, deaths, 30 years.    She was more than my sister-in-law, she was my friend through so much.   The laughter, the tears, the fears.   We have helped each other walk through some very painful parts of life.   And more important than that, we have LAUGHED our way through it.   Things that you never thought you could joke about, become humorous with someone who knows you like a book.

As years came to be, and she shared of her childhood, struggles, I grew to respect her more each passing year.   It isn’t easy for someone who has been walked over, to stand up and fight back.   But she has.   Stereotypic essential relationships that should have gifted her with confidence, esteem, and overall sense of self respect delivered exact opposite, or was meant to.   I witnessed things over the years that made me so sad for her.   But also, made me love her all the more.

After the divorce, and a bitchy evil “step mother” stepping into the scenario, I was summoned more than once to cease my relationship with her, after all, we were no longer related!    But that only served to set my heels in deeper.  Why would I sever a relationship that was essential to me?  Why would I sever a relationship based on lies that were being told about her?   More than once, more than a handful, I got into shouting matches with my family.   I was the bad one, for keeping up the relationship.   Shaking my head.    Yet it was this woman who stayed up with me ALL night, for months on end, playing Literati, helping me walk through some of the hardest times of my life.  No, I guess we were no longer related, but we were friends.  I know we will always be friends.

I have seen her shape from a broken uncertain soul, into an amazing woman.   Now a grandmother, she and her husband took a plunge and moved across country.  I encouraged her.  It was time.  Always a mother, she would still be available as she was when near, and this day and age of technology, a phone call can now be face to face, expressions inclusive.   But it was time for them to do for themselves.   I don’t think it was an easy decision, given the level of family commitment they have, but it was a good decision, for all.

I’ve watched my nephews mature.  They are GOOD human beings.  I’m proud of them.   Was she a perfect mother?  Why YES ( 🙂 )…. who EVER is perfect?   It’s impossible.  We are designed to be perfectly imperfect, she, no exception.    For whatever she would do differently today, she taught her children to NEVER GIVE UP.   It is okay to take a couple day sabbatical, but then?  Then you get up, and you start over.   Defy the powerful forces that had great potential to tear flesh, break your spirit.   Put your head up high, and walk however you must towards self love, acceptance, success.   Stick that nose up in the air if it helps you walk through fire, whatever it takes!    This is why I smiled at the beginning of the blog.  That snobbish look she can give, I know what’s behind it.

She has walked through fire.   She has taken my hand and walked with me, through fire.   I am in awe of her strength, and the person she has become.   I’m proud of her and what she has done with her life.  She is courageous, intelligent TO A FAULT.   I don’t care if her last name has changed, or where she is in the world, she will ALWAYS be my sister-in-law, and she will ALWAYS be the mother of two beautiful souls that I love dearly.   I am grateful for her existence in my life.

As typical, I sit here with a sign from above.   I am laughing, because I smell birthday candles.  I have actually gotten up and looked around my house to make sure there is no flame anywhere.   I bet you I know who is sending you birthday wishes from the other side!   The same person you drove 3-4 hours in bad weather to say goodbye, who adored your boys, too.  Or maybe?   It’s the person who I know loved you deeply.  The woman who I know you loved dearly.   I know when she died you were broken, felt like the truest form of love you had ever experienced had all been lost.  But it wasn’t!   You passed on what she taught you to your boys, and I know will, your grandchildren.   She exists in you, and no doubt, is very proud of you.

Thank you for all your love, support, friendship, hours spent listening to me.  Thank you for loving my art, for caring about my family in spite of all the difficulties in the past.   Thank you for sharing some of the BEST belly laughs I’ve ever had.    I am grateful for your existence in my life.  I am grateful for you.

On this day I want to wish you a very happy birthday.  You deserve the best.  You have fought your way through much, and you are still standing, as beautiful as ever, with the best looking legs I have ever seen on a real person!    Have an awesome day!   I love you, and I look forward to many more years with you and our “boys”.

“Get out of the damn boat, Donna!”

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Have you ever had a “feeling” stop you dead in your tracks?   Sensed that you were in peril?  That someone you love is?  Or reacted out of character, following a gut hunch?

Six years ago while on a cruise with my best friend and her family, a private tour in the Grand Cayman’s to swim with sting rays was set up months in advance.  I knew I would not step foot off the boat.   A long life of fear around these creatures was “sealed” when “The Crocodile Hunter” died of injuries sustained from one.   It was a rough day to be out, complicated further by a tour director whose boat was nothing like pictured in the ads, nor did he care how old or how many passengers he had, or if the wake was affecting his guests.   Anyway, I digress.

My girlfriend and her daughter piled quickly out of the boat.  I sat, watching.   Her daughter, who is brave beyond brave, reacted unexpectedly to the feel of the sting rays on her legs, or perhaps it was their laser sharp tails that brushed against you when they swam past you.  She started to scream, which did catch the attention of our tour guide.  “You can scream all you want, just please, stop jumping up and down”.    Oh sure, I thought.  Steve Irwin all over again!    As she climbed back into the boat I was surprised at what I was thinking.

Something had my attention.  It was silent to all but me.  “Get out of the boat”.    Like hell I will!   And after a few more minutes I sensed that this adventure was something that I had to do.    Whatever it was, call it sixth sense, sign, I “knew” I needed to get out of the boat and face this fear.   And I did.

I defied the rough seas, mouthfuls of such and made my way out to the area where my friends were.   A couple of times I thought I was going to pass out, particularly when I felt the sharpness of one of its’ tails on my legs.   I stood still, took a deep breath and prayed…  “Whatever I am supposed to do here, get from being here, let this happen and quick!”.    This inner force was telling me that I needed courage.    I remember thinking “Okay, but why THIS?”

I will not say that I ever got totally comfortable with this.  These sting rays were used to being fed, they were stars in what was an obvious tourist attraction.    The smaller ones were male, the largest ones, which we were told could get up to 400 lbs, were females.  But of course!   We were feeding them raw fish.   Sushi, anyone?

Suddenly a very large sting ray was directing my way.  Oh God, this is it, I thought!   The guide came over and showed me how to hold out my arms and actually HOLD this huge sting ray.   They really felt like wet mushrooms against my body, but again, I knew I “had to do this”.   And I did.    I remember looking into its little beady eyes.    I held it for a few minutes, let it go, and then decided I had been brave enough for the day, found my way back to the boat.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been guided by inner voice, but it was surely the first and probably the last time I would swim with Sting Rays.     For the next couple of days, reflecting on that strong urge, I knew it was about courage, but that was as far as I got.   As always, it feels good to do something that you don’t particularly think you can do, or are afraid of.  Self confidence spikes.

Flying home I thought about what a wonderful vacation it was, and I held that experience close in thought.   Who would have thought that I would do something so brave?   Childhood fears can run PRETTY deep!    Upon arriving home I had a routine mammogram scheduled the following day.   The technician took extra slides, and I knew something wasn’t right.  It was eight months prior to that when I had tested positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation.   I honestly thought I wouldn’t test positive because my sisters were far younger than me when they were diagnosed with cancer.   I think I slid past this!

Within 48 hours I walked out to the mailbox to find a letter from the hospital.   My hands were shaking as I was trying to open the letter, and answer the phone at the same time.   “Donna?   We have an appointment scheduled for you tomorrow with your Dr, and prior to that you are scheduled to come back in for more slides”.    I hung up the phone and immediately called my sister, explained to her what is going on.   We decided not to tell my parents until we had to.   But we both knew, this wasn’t just random.

I went in the next day for more slides and met with my doctor who insisted that he felt it was nothing.    I remember watching his lips mouth words “I say we sit on this, and see what the mammogram shows in a few months”.   I swallowed, a hard swallow.   “No, I want a biopsy”.     By this time both the radiologists and doctor are telling me that they would agree to do a biopsy, but neither felt it would reveal cancer.    Three days later I, and four other women were scheduled for needle core biopsy in a small hospital in Vermont.     Four benign, one malignancy.   Guess who that malignancy belonged to?

“I would like a second opinion at Dana Farber, please”.   All confidence in them had been squelched.   And so begins my journey through breast cancer.  I value my “gut” instincts.  And while I may not like what I hear, I trust there is purpose behind the sign.

Melissa ETHERIDGE “I run for life!”

Which came first, being chicken or the ego?

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For those of you who have read my blog, you know I am a fan of the ID (Investigation Discovery) channel.   This morning I was doing some housework and “listening”.   The commentator shared a comment that struck me to a point of heightened eyebrows.   He said “If his reputation is damaged, his life is over”…which ended up being the motive for killing his soon to be ex wife.    I sat down, grabbed the remote control, rewound it…Yep, that was what I heard.  “If his reputation is damaged, his life is over”.

Too many times on these programs the motive is to hide a secret, a dirty secret.   I didn’t listen to what he was hiding, I didn’t care.  This phrase just struck me.  “If his reputation is damaged, his life is over”.   Really?

I thought of how stupid that comment was.    Mind you, I am not underestimating the mentality or ego driven homicides that happen everyday.   I think the word “narcissism” can be used to describe many of these murderers, these criminals.   Narcissism not being quite as cold as evil.   So why did that comment bug me?

It is simple.  It has been the roughest, most difficult times in my life when I experience the most growth.  It is when I am humbled that I become one with my gratitude.  My mind isn’t bouncing from here to there, with a tongue that flippantly says “I am grateful…”.  The truth is, I am grateful daily, for the things I do recognize as gifts in my life.   But when I am humbled, when I am scraping bottom and feeling like my happiness is gone forever, that my life now has no purpose, that my pain will never end, my bruised ego gets pushed to the side.  What replaces it, at first, is a steady flow of self pity.  But eventually that gets old and I’m forced to look at my situation, my shortcomings, my problems head on.   The very thing that displaces my hurt ego has the impetus to become an eventful, meaningful, powerful change in my perspective, thus my life.

I recall two occasions in my early 30’s when I went through what I then called “hell”.  One being a divorce from my second husband with whom I had been married for 10 years.    Now, I was working full time, I had good benefits, I was receiving good pay, but his “threats” to sell the house out from under me ruled my mind.   Between the loss of love, betrayal, and images of a cheating spouse in which I had compromised too much over the relationship (basically myself) and the loss of my home being threatened, what was “clear” and indeed a lie was that “my happiness, my life is over”.

As I think about that now I shake my head, in fact I am right now.   Much worse things happened to me in life, and while not invalidating the pain of a broken marriage, it was a time of incredible growth, painstaking growth.   My girlfriend Janice was my saving grace during this time.  Ever my confidant, my friend, my support, I doubt I would have made it through without her.  Not because it was insurmountable but because my unhealthy mental state was leading me down suicide alley.  My crushed ego, my “security”, my life had been turned upside down, thus my thinking not only what would obviously be unsettling, but the mindset in itself was a mine field.  I was my own worst enemy.

Twenty years later, another long term relationship having ended, a new career in the arts which I seeked out, I realize that what was totally devastating then, was the beginning of my life!   Engulfed in misery and pain, it can only last so long before one self destructs or can no longer look at themselves in the mirror.   I certainly didn’t pull myself out of this by myself.  I was given people, places, things that put me in alignment with my desires IF I dared to step away from my sorry self loathing, pain.   The event of this painful divorce helped ready me for the next major change in my life.

What that divorce brought me was the beginning of understanding, there is no security in marriage.  There really is no security in any relationship except your relationship with God, source, whom or whatever you call it.    As difficult as this time was in my life, it would later seem insignificant to things that happened in my life.      It was the beginning of my paving out my life in the terms I wanted it, what I wanted to do, to become aligned with that which I believe I was born to do.   I don’t believe we have one purpose but many.   That time in my life, that separation, divorce actually became my security!     I survived what I thought I never would, and not only that, became a better person.   I was being “pushed” to the next phase of my life.  All I had to do was show up!   But how difficult that can be when we are in despair.

So the comment “If his reputation was lost, his life was over” really made me think about how grateful I am for the things in which dropped me to my knees.    I am grateful I was humbled, I am grateful that I felt humiliated and embarrassed and 100 other things.   My life today, my security today is not based on another person, and while I am considered poor financially, my life is rich with color, family and friends.

I seldom carry “secrets”.  I have learned that we become as sick as our secrets.  I share openly events, both good and bad in my blog.   Chuckling as I recall a male friend saying to me “For someone who is afraid of intimacy you sure do share some personal things in your blog!”   I looked at him and said “Well, I wouldn’t talk about my sex life… even if I had one!”

We are all one.   A person’s financial wealth may societally be high on the totem pole, but that doesn’t make them a better person, or exempt from loss, illnesses, pain.    Perhaps one of the most significantly positive events in their life could be LOSING that societal “security”.  As there really is no security in that.   We are all one in the same.  It is not only basic needs that uniforms our lives similar.    We may have different colored skin, drive different cars, live in smaller or bigger houses, and for some, boxes, we are all one.    We may only be an event, a thought away from new perspective, a perspective that probably will not come without painful consequences, but our lives as a result of this could very well in fact become more purposeful, more meaningful.

I often say that I wouldn’t wish the journey of cancer on anyone, but I wouldn’t trade my personal growth for the world.    Sharing my life’s journey with others is in itself, humbling, but what another person thinks of me no longer rocks the core of my existence.   If nothing else my words are there to help another whom is walking a similar journey.  We are all one, we are all susceptible to things we fear (or don’t fear), and we are all a work in progress.

As has been proven repeatedly to me in my life… when I am aligned all that I need is put in front of me.  After a day of thinking about this, I logged into facebook and read an excerpt from Dr. Wayne Dyer’s new book “I can see clearly now” which speaks of this very thing but much more eloquently! 😉  Validation, a sign, proof for me that I am on the right track.  I am right where I am supposed to be.  My thinking is clear and my perspective on healthy ground.

Honoring my thoughts, feelings… my journey

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Yesterday after the visiting nurse left I came upstairs to rest.  As I lay peacefully in my bed, and as proven time and time again with me, when I am tired all my defenses are down.   I cannot stop the thought processes that run rampant through my mind.  Ever so green were the memories of seeing my friend Linda for the first time after hearing of her diagnosis of cancer.  She poo pooed it, saying “Oh don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine”.  A couple of years later after many different and harsh treatments she succumbed to breast cancer.  As I laid quietly, looking down at my bruised arms, being ever so careful not to lay any pressure on the tops of my hands to prevent discomfort from the bruises and agitated veins, I found myself wondering Have I poo pooed my own breast cancer diagnosis?  Am I downplaying the significance that this diagnosis has and will have on my life?  On my future?  How many people have you seen after a diagnosis of cancer end up with one health problem after another until they eventually pass?

Cancer, serious illness or trauma can and does change your life.  I have been focused on all the good things that have come to me since my diagnosis.  The gifts of perspective, the outpouring of love and support from others, the incredible depth and soul of the human spirit and all that it survives and thrives through, the ability to let go of things that once consumed me and stole precious time from my life, and so much more.   I have become a stronger, wiser, and in my opinion, a better person.  As said in earlier posts,  I wish this on no one, but I would not trade my own personal growth for the world.    I believe the tougher, harder, difficult times of our lives build our character, bring us to understand who we are, what we are made of, and what is important to us.  These are all positive things.

By focusing on the good, am I omitting to look at the reality of my situation?  Am I denying the seriousness, defying the fear?  I don’t think so.  I have some very dark thoughts, and I know too well the power of cancer and other illnesses, too many to list that snatch the health of those we love and later their lives.  But if we are doing everything we possibly can to keep this from happening, everything in our power, then why NOT focus on the positives?   I think this is true for every situation in our lives.   Positive attitudes are proven to bring positive outcomes.  I read this on my cousin, Steve’s Facebook a few weeks ago, and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.  ” I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find out there isn’t a God, than live my life as if there isn’t, and die to find out there is”.  

I have learned that it is important to honor my feelings.  Feelings are not facts, they are not necesarilly clues to the truth, they are just feelings.   If I stuff them, ignore them, they will eventually overfill the space allotted and come pouring out.  If I focus too much on them, then I lose  balance with reality.  What meditation has taught me is to acknowledge that the feelings are there but not exert energy on understanding or blocking them… just be one with them.  If I am to understand or gain knowledge from them, when the time is right I will.   Feelings, experiences can provoke thoughts.  Sometimes thoughts are not always happy, some stir painful emotions, things that are hard to face, think about, or feel.   Talking about “things or feelings” like I did in my first paragraph does not mean I am dwelling or focusing on those very thoughts.   I am however, honoring them.  This is all part of my journey.  I am not surrendering to this disease, and ironically, I’m not even fighting cancer at the moment!  I am, however, still dealing with the effects of what this disease brought into my life, and complications thereof.  I am humbly looking at realistic possibilities.  Tonight, tomorrow, or the next day as my energy returns I will be physically active again, I will be returning to my busy life, and these thoughts will fade.   Why are people so afraid to feel or talk about these things?   And when you do, why are you told to just  move on, let it go?  Probably because they are uncomfortable emotionally.  Unsettling, “dark” in nature.  But for someone with medical diagnosis of a potentially terminal disease, it is somewhat realistic.

I have been a fan for many years now of Elizabeth Kubler Ross’ work .  She was a pioneer in the hospice movement.  Talking to people who were dying, about dying.  Telling them the truth, giving them the dignity to make end of life choices, etc.  She wasn’t afraid to talk about these things, she stirred bees nests all over in the medical world.  Dr’s called her “Dr Death”, despised her, they wanted to “protect” their patients from “the truth”.    I never want to be protected from the truth.  I am a firm believer in “The truth shall set me free”.   It is not the truth that will kill me, it is the fear and lack of faith.  That is not to say that I feel the right to plaster my “truth” in the faces of others.   I just do not want to be denied the opportunity to talk about my feelings, my experiences.

I apologize if this blog has upset you, or stirred up feelings that you do not want to feel, the topic is unpopular and dark.   I am not depressed, or even upset.  I am however tired, and as stated earlier, all my defenses are down and the thought processes just fly like live wires, thus my fingers.

I just want to leave you with this thought.  We look at births as such joyous occasions.  We celebrate birthdays yearly.  When someone dies I have witnessed within my own family that you don’t talk about the deceased, or rarely.  Perhaps its from the emotional pain, and if you do, well, I am a minority here.   The time I spent in the hospital last week, and the couple of days that I spent afraid, and in dark corners was not fun, but coming out of it and coming home, it all really made me appreciate so much more, all that I do have in my life… and recognizing and again, acknowledging and appreciating that it is the simple little things in my life that bring me the most pleasure.  Again I am in awe of the outpouring of love and support of those that reached out to me when I asked for help, and yet again I am in amazement of the strength, fortitude and yearning of the human spirit.  This is all GOOD stuff!  If I had not gone thru this difficult and trying experience, perhaps I would not be as respectful and appreciative as I am at this very moment of all my own life.    So after getting out of the dark corner, dusting myself off, I choose to be in the lighted, brighter spots, those which bring me the most joy…  From darkness comes light….  I will acknowledge the darker corners, honor my thoughts and feelings, but I will empower those areas that bring me light, hope, love…. I grow from all aspects of my life….

I will remind myself that the seeds, thus vital roots of flowers and plants grow in cool dark soil, but when they expand above that to the sunlight, they flourish and blossom.  Both darkness and light are necessary for its existence.

I love my life!