Don’t Blink.

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“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.” ~ Madeleine L’Engle

Yesterday, I was driving home from an appointment. On the curb, where I turn into my street, a father with his two-year-old sat where the olive trees grow. The sun was high over head at noontime and the light filtered through the leaves, leaving shiny patches on their smooth tanned faces.

Peals of laughter rang out from both father and his son, who was at the moment, having a ball playing with a plastic bottle cap. He held it up and played with as if it was a prized possession. There is magic in toys of this sort that can entertain for hours.

Both father and son were having the time of their lives. Chatting it up and laughing up a storm. So full of energy, that if they had done an impromptu rain dance a cloud would have surely appeared.

I rounded the corner, and slowed to a snail’s pace in case the boy decided to dart from where he was sitting, as young children often do.

I started feeling the wave of a blush fall over me as I realized I had entered and was enjoying their intimate moment when I wasn’t an invited guest to the party. I offered a little wave out of my embarrassment right as I passed them. The little boy waved back to me in the same way that my children used to when they were little. He waved his tiny hand, holding tightly onto the bottle cap. My heart turned into a puddle in my chest.

On autopilot, I parked the car in front of our house and got out to go inside. But, as my car door shut, the duo pulled me back to them like a magnet. Instead of walking to the door, my feet took me down the block toward where they sat. Continue reading

Let Your Heart Fly & Your Soul Roar.

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We have all been shaken by life events. Some more so than others, but no one’s life is a constant party. We have all been hurt and this pain may have stopped or delayed us from living out our passions to the fullest.

I strongly believe that finding our passion and carrying it out to the best of our abilities has a healing effect on each and every one of us.

My writing has always made my heart sing. I started as soon as I could hold a pencil. Although there were some dark years, I still wrote when I could, but more recently my passion has taken flight.

I may not be as polished or as eloquent as others, but writing is my release and my joy. I am happy and unashamed to share my words with the world today. This has opened my soul up in so many ways, and I can’t say how grateful that I am for this blessing.

I urge everyone to look within the depths of your own being and start living what calls to your own heart and soul. It is never too late and it may not be perfect (this was a fear of my own), but listening to your calling and living out your own authentic truth will set you free. Continue reading

Overwhelmed Due to Paralyzing Emotions or PTSD?

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“Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life. What is it you would let go of today?” ~ Mary Manin Morrissey

 

I think many of us have experienced situations in which we were so petrified of what might happen that we literally could not move, let alone breathe properly.

One of the first times I can remember this happening to me was when I was about three years old.

I was in my bedroom late at night and I actually saw ghosts of soldiers marching up and down the hallway outside of my cracked open bedroom door. I still swear to this day that they were real.

I was wide awake and concentrated on making myself as small as I could and breathing as shallow as was feasible, lest they see me and find me. I found myself overwhelmed with fear and not knowing how to solve this problem.

I wanted nothing more badly than to run down the hall to my parent’s bedroom to be comforted, but it was the same long hallway that the gun toting, marching soldiers were occupying. And I had a strong intuitive feeling they did not want to be bothered or be seen by me. And I certainly did not want to get close to them.

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So there I lay—afraid to even make the small movement of closing my eyes. I was engulfed in the crushing terror of being without a good solution to my problem.

The soldiers showed up on more than one occasion, but I never told my parents, lest the brigade would find me out and become angry with me for telling anyone.

Looking back, I might chalk this experience up to a child’s imagination, but I refuse to discount my feelings that were so very real at that time. Whatever it was that I saw through my eyes and/or my brain during those nights was genuine, and I would never want to dishonor my truth at any age.

Fast forward from age three into adulthood—I have had these petrified feelings many more times since then. And, I know many others have had them too.

For me, it feels like a cold white heat in my chest, with the inability to inhale a full breath. Many would call this incident a panic attack, but I’m choosing not to label my experiences at this time.

These mind-sets have settled upon me on many occasions throughout my 45 years—some for good reason (like the time I was shot at by my friend’s crazy neighbor or after my father’s suicide) and some for seemingly lesser reasons (such as when I have become weighed down and felt that I could not get out of bed to save my life). No matter what the reason, my body’s physical reaction has been similar, and I know many others who can relate. In my case, this is caused by delayed-onset PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

I have learned some tricks along the way to ease the pain of these frozen feelings: And yes, I have been to therapy (a lot) and have read many books on dealing with how to dig my way out of the holes that I feel stuck in and situations I feel threatened by.

Here is what I have learned: Continue reading

My Words of Love.

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We all need to be heard…

I was contemplating this need after a conversation that I had with a dear friend. I had shared a poem with him and he explained that it caused deep feelings to well from the depths his heart. He was sad and told me that he felt like crying. This was the exact feeling that I had experienced upon reading the very same poem that I had sent to him.

The more that I thought about our exchange, the more I came to believe that I am at my most vulnerable with my writing when I am creating poetry. Somehow, this form of writing opens up the gates to my heart more than with any other type of writing is able to do.

I also feel that poems, when read or heard, dig a little deeper into our souls than any other form of written medium.

Further, I realized that when you have a very good friend, you can’t always hold back information that touches your own heart in an effort to spare their heart. We are on this earth to laugh and cry together.

The following poem was inspired by the above conversation with my friend. I was also inspired by another beautiful friend’s vision of how poetry (writing, reading, and sharing) frees our souls and touches all of us so deeply as every ‘Journey of the Heart’ inevitably does. Continue reading

Betrayed & Still Breathing (A sequel to Betrayed).

Betrayed & Still Breathing.

I recently wrote an article called Betrayed and the outpouring of support, love, and questioning was unexpectedly incredible, humbling and unlike anything that I have experienced thus far in response to my writing.

I realize that most people have been betrayed in their lives. And, most people have also betrayed another at some point. So, there is a lot of common ground surrounding this unfortunate, yet unavoidable issue.

An old expression keeps coming to mind and gives me pause for thought:

“When you point a finger at another person, remember that there are three fingers pointing back toward yourself.”

When I look deeply enough at myself, although it is not fun to do, I can find a lot of truth in the above quote. It is so easy to blame, but we also need to find the common thread that is called ‘being human’ and get on with life at some point.

But how?

Must we forgive a person right away after a betrayal—or at all? Do we need to stay friends, lovers, or acquaintances? Do we push a betrayal to the back of our minds in an effort to stay perpetually positive?

I also remember this:

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

I don’t think there is any recipe that is right for all people or that will serve us well in all instances. There are too many scenarios to consider. But to acknowledge and maybe even accept the imperfect thread of humanity that runs through all of us does serve us well.

Does this mean we forgive? I believe so, and I’ll tell you why. I have heard that:

“Bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” ~ Joanna Weaver

And this makes a lot of sense to me. If I allow my heart to harden and become jaded, what does it do to the person I have been betrayed by? You guessed it—nothing.

Instead the anger, sadness or hurt can grow fast like a cancer in my own spirit and that is definitely not what I want.

So what to do? While I am still fairly early in my journey, I already feel more at peace with the situation. And there are a few steps I have taken that helped get me to this point:

1.  I acknowledged the betrayal.

I realized the seriousness of it. I didn’t push my feelings down about it and generally faced the truth about what happened.

2.  I communicated with the person who betrayed me and set boundaries.

This I did on my own terms and in my own way. But I clearly conveyed that I was upset and what I expected if the relationship was to be righted again.

3.  I realized that it is up to me to feel better.

I have purposely done more fun activities recently. I have gone out and spent time with people whose company I enjoy. I can’t expect my betrayer to feel badly or comply with my wishes.

4.  I have realized that all apologies are not created equal.

This one is tough, as it is not pleasant to get a half-hearted apology—still we must not take this personally either. (At this point I would like to point out that an apology that contains a ‘but’ in it is no apology. “I’m sorry, but. . . ,“ never turns out well, as the person making the apology is still making excuses for their behavior instead of owning up to it.)

5.  Number four does not matter—really!

Back to drinking the poison—a betrayal with a bad apology is a double betrayal. And no matter what the outcome, it is up to us to get over things. Yes we may have been tight with and emotionally dependent on our betrayer, but re-read number three which leads me to the next step.

6.  Forgiving is a lot like meditation. Keep coming back to your breath.

Focusing on our breath is hard to do in meditation. We purposely have to redirect our mind towards the sought after path.

The same is true with forgiveness. I demonstrated it in steps three through five. We forgive. Our mind wanders back to the pain or anger—at both the betrayer and ourselves (for falling prey). Then we redirect to being responsible for our own feelings.  And repeat again and again.

But shouldn’t we be allowed to feel sorry for our poor betrayed selves?

Sure. That is a definite option. But not one that I would choose or wish upon anyone else.

It is a good bet that I will be focusing on my “breathing” for some time as I still feel like a semi-burned piece of toast. And yet, I am starting to scrape the blackened part off a bit so I can live with myself comfortably once again.

Stay tuned, many blessings, and if I can do this, so can you!