My Purpose

There are mornings when I wake, and I don’t dread the day ahead. There’s a slight thrill running in my veins. I enjoy this feeling and wish I could recreate it. Bottle it and save it for a rainy day.

I once believed that if only I had a calling or a mission, it would be so easy to jump out of bed each day. I’d want to walk out the door and help others. Passion would be a part of the package.

(Success is about a happy life, and happy life is just a string of happy moments. But most people do not allow the happy moments because they are so busy trying to get a happy life.) Esther Hicks

Now, my bones creak more, and my muscles have less vigor. Aging has brought experience also. I’ve paid attention. There are people with ordinary jobs who do them with the enthusiasm of an artist. I’ve seen love smiling through the eyes of a neighbor. And kindness, I believe is appropriate anywhere.

Maybe you have a unique voice and can say the words which need to be said. One person to one person. One person to one thousand. If you help one person in your life, isn’t it worth it? Don’t hesitate. Our gifts can be lost in the noise, the hatred, and the confusion. Turn off the distractions. Put joy on your list.

Why are you here?

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Rebuilding the Brickwork Of My Mind

We are afraid we’re alone.

I’ve spent years lugging around baggage. I have issues. Pain. I was injured, and I’ve hurt people in return. “Look, everyone. See my pain.” I didn’t do a lot of workshops or therapy sessions, but I donned the clothing of the wounded, shamed warrior. My name badge if you dared get that close read, Unworthy.

Recently, I’ve started to doubt the wounded me story, ripping it away like it was ivy growing unrestrained on the side of my house. But by now shame was buried in my mortared joints. I had so much to learn. And much to unlearn. These are not the renovations you see on HGTV with quick before and after snapshots.

As I told a friend recently, our families in their generation believed they would be safe if they stayed within their safety zone. Their life mottos: Don’t color outside of the lines. Keep your clothes clean. Go to work on time. Follow the rules. Do your duty.

In most lives, there’s a sense that we aren’t doing enough. And we feel that life is complicated. It’s so freakin’ tricky as we think we have to do everything and we are alone. My mental training was built on struggle framed in the guise of independence, strength, endurance, and survival. Go Go NIKE! Just Do It!

As I told a friend recently, our families in their generation believed they would be safe if they stayed within their safety zone. Their life mottos: Don’t color outside of the lines. Keep your clothes clean. Go to work on time. Follow the rules. Do your duty. This was the way of their life, but it can’t work anymore. I cannot conform because it isn’t who I am. And I was shamed, blamed, misunderstood, and told I needed to change because I was broken. I did not fit. Who told me this? The ones who refused to change. The generation who tried to keep me safe. I learned fear and paranoia.

What if I’m not broken? Do I enjoy my day? Could I? These are my new questions for rebuilding my thoughts. Instead of the repairing, I am living.

from Circle of Stones by Judith Duerk

I wouldn’t dream of telling you to believe as I do. I am saying, and you might not be broken. And if I’m not broken and you’re going not to break, we could learn to love our lives.

You are not alone. It appears we are, but there are so many who care. We aren’t isolated from each other. We don’t compete with our coworkers for our meals. There’s no lack. Also, I believe we have access to a collective. Maybe my words fail in the description. It could be a group we belong to, and we draw energy from when necessary, anyway, I imagine a gathering of friends on a beach. We’re sitting around a fire laughing and sharing our experiences. We belong to this family. Someone has our back. Maybe your group meets at the local bar and drinks shots. Or has pie at the cafe.

I honor you. Namaste.

Survive Today

You only have to make it today! For some, that’s good news.

I grew up in the positive thinking days, the Name It and Claim It generation. Thinking made it so. The reason Aunt Marge had cancer was she was a negative thinking person. Our counterbalance was to cross stitch positivity and frame it. With that much potential to fail it’s almost impossible to get out of bed in the morning. I’m gonna fuck something up today.

Well here’s to the hearts that you’re gonna break
Here’s to the lives that you’re gonna change
Here’s to the infinite possible ways to love you
I want you to have it
Here’s to the good times we’re gonna have
You don’t need money, you got a free pass
Here’s to the fact that I’ll be sad without you

I want you to have it all – Songwriters: Becky Gebhardt / Mai Bloomfield / Mona Tavakoli / Chaska Potter / Jacob Kasher / David Hodges / Jason Mraz Have It All lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.- Jason Mraz

Survive Today: Take it in small bites such as thirty minute or 1-hour time slots. I can make it for thirty minutes by enjoying the sunshine. Sometimes I survive until Lunch approaching my work with a Zen energy, ignoring everyone for 2 hours. Or if I look past today, overlook the present time entirely, and peer into the evening, I can plan a good meal, pick a movie. I forget my sucky day.

Ways of making yourself smile: Watch some comedy clips on YouTube or Comedy Central. Make funny faces in the mirror. Read funny stories or comic strips. Listen to music. Walk in nature. Pet something fuzzy. Take a silly selfie. Be goofy. Rest. Take a day to lay around.

Help Another Person: Listen. Listen. Listen. Care about them. Be who you are around them. Show your true self. Be there when you can. Don’t be phony. Let them help you. Most important, be honest. If you are with them, be there. If not, quit pretending.

Accept Your Life: Stop changing. You’re complete. It’s time to get to know who you are. There’s an old phrase which states we should love ourselves as we are, broken pieces, scars, and bruises. Some of us got hung up on the damaged part and forgot the love. Forget that you need to be fixed. Stop running, stop hiding, and stop fighting life. It’s better to have ruthless acceptance. This is me at this moment. Overweight or underweight. Whether I love the me I perceive as I stare in the mirror each morning, or I hate my image, it is the bare truth.

If you hate the way you look, so what? Brush your teeth and go to work anyway. Your job will still pay you. Someone in Hollywood remarked that we must love our looks. Honey, we don’t all drive beautiful cars. I might have decent looks, and I’m happy enough with them. It’s good enough. Move forward and Survive. Thrive.

Check out: What If I Thrive?

Check out: The Flip Side of Failure

Check out: You Win

Live. Live Everyday

You start dying slowly, but it doesn’t need to be this way. Choices. Those are the power buttons. We can wear the bright color, do the fun vacation, eat the ice cream, go dancing, see an art exhibit. Be alive. Everyday.

Read more: Are We The Choices We Make?

Or Power of Choice

Queen of Hearts

I think of winter as silent and cold, a time when nature forgets. In the winter, seeds are dormant. Ever been there? Oh, I have. Silent, still, and unmoving. I was young and didn’t know much about life.

Growing up, I didn’t develop well emotionally. I had been asleep. It sounds cliche. Melodrama really isn’t my thing. But, there was a moment when something inside came alive, and the circuits connected. I awoke. That was when I recognized the brokenness surrounding me. And I wasn’t doing anyone good by living in denial. As it says in Genesis, 3: 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Well, I wasn’t naked, but my family wasn’t as perfect as I thought either.

“Images of the Goddess help to break the hold of “male control” that has shaped our images not only of God, but of all significant power in the universe.”

-Carol P. Christ, from: Rebirth of the Goddess

There’s a shame in my family, and it needs to be cleansed. I’ve been trying to heal through journaling, genealogy, therapy, talking with my family, prayer, and meditation. I sincerely hope to trigger healing in others. Hopefully this is helpful for others because I know I am not alone in this sadness.

We’ve had multiple decades of men in battle. Like bricks stacked upon each other, fathers and then sons have waved goodbye to families who wept for them. Women, whether they were mothers, sisters or wives participated as they could. For a family member, waiting would be agony.

Soldiers gave up personal freedom, hopes, and put their personal wishes aside for the call of duty. With their life on the line, and having to overcome fear every day, all they knew was to be strong. Survival was important. There wasn’t time for hope. It was mud, blood, guns, and keep yourself from freezing to death in the winter. Pay attention to their surroundings. Don’t get killed. Hoping and dreaming, that was for later. So, love was put to sleep. Remember the 1950’s? Duty was Queen. And she had no heart.

Generations of war created a lineage of patriarchy and abuse. Hearts were cold. There’s generational rape, molestation, child abuse, and years of silence. Shame. Try taking this history of pathology and develop a healthy person. Here I am, as well as my parents. I took my underdeveloped self and tried to create a healthy marriage with another. I say underdeveloped since I had no idea what love was. In my family genealogy, love has been asleep for a long time.

We know duty. Survival is our best skill. After that, we start having issues. And as most therapists will tell you, a person will gravitate toward what they know. Which is why people return to the same type of relationships over and over, like a reoccurring nightmare. Or you marry someone like your parents. We’re not only comfortable with the familiar, but it feels right. They fit you. They plug that void you need to fill. We call it love. Funny. Is it really love? Maybe.

I’ve been asking this question for years, what is love? Someday I might know the answer. I know what it’s not. Love is not pain. It is open and giving without holding the other person back from their potential. Love is not bullying, pushy, or brutish in it’s giving. Love is a gift. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are lying. If their “LOVE” comes with strings attached, then it is not loving.

Love your people today.

Arna Baartz -Artist (painting reposted from thegirlgod.com)

Healing With Fun

Flow states are those moments when we forget we are in a physical body, that we function with tasks and to-do lists, and that we require money and food. For a brief period, we are at one with the universe. Lost in the moment.

When I am creating, I am more comfortable in my skin. I become a better person. All creativity is a part of me. This is the greatest joy.

Everyone is talking about drugs which can take us into a state of mind, ecstasy. Is that what we need? I vacillate between wanting to face my demons head-on with the sword or to run for cover because I’m overwhelmed from their taunting. Shorter periods of flow is another option.

Jamie Wheal and Steven Kotler are two of the current writers and scientists studying how we function in a flow. If you’re interested in learning more, check out anything they have written or maybe their interviews on YouTube.

Dance, music, writing, art, conversation, playing, walking, researching a topic, cooking, being with friends, it can be anything you enjoy. The first people had orgasms and knew ecstasy. Possibly they had herbs too.

This is how we can to heal our trauma. With momentary lapses of forgetting, but not of who we are, or where we are. We remember ourselves deep within, the real self. We forget our surroundings. Letting go of the trouble that has spellbound us into thinking we are small.

We step out of worry into moments of love and enjoy real living, for five minutes today. We can learn to be in joy for ten minutes next week.

Be joy.

Cursing the Darkness

I curse the darkness.

I know I’m supposed to believe. I’m supposed to visualize good things and make vision boards. But in the end, you’ll find me yelling profanities out my window-maybe not literally, but figuratively I do curse the depression.

You will not torture me!

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light…-

Dylan Thomas

There are three common responses to abuse. Fight, flight, and fawning. Fighting, raging, not trusting anyone, that’s how some handle life. They walk taller, live faster, and work harder than others. But a cockfight is not my first tendency.

My first response to problems is panic! I freeze, like a fawn. I’m a deer in the headlights, and my mind stops functioning. I swear that running would be healthier.

Depression, that deadly chill, is why I curse the darkness. It’s a night which can swallow me, and I hate it. But, I force myself to face its ugliness. I build massive fires to fight the chill.

I curse the darkness. I use any of the tools I have. I love music and watching movies. Writing and studying my ancestry are more than a distraction; they bring me joy. These are my bonfires. My friendships. My family. Memories of favorite moments. I’ve stockpiled a cache of fireworks for whenever I need them.

I refuse to live in the darkness of my fears.

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas, 1914  1953

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”