Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Big Things

Forgiveness - forgiving - being forgiven.

These are big things.

Lately, I’ve been working on forgiving someone. It hasn’t been easy. Actually, it’s really effing hard!
It’s not that this person needs me to pronounce forgiveness upon them to release them from what occurred. No, this is not about the other person. This is all about me.

*I* need to forgive this person for my own well-being and healing. Holding on to it - allowing “it” to fester is not doing me one bit of good – the opposite in fact.
But – I am having a hard time with the actually “forgiving” because…NO! (stomps feet in protest) This person hurt me in a humongous and very painful – I-almost-didn’t-come-out-on-the-other-side - way!

I wear it like a badge: “Look at me! I was wronged!”
The bitterness took root a long time ago and has been firmly in place for many years now. What good has it done me? Not a damned bit!

All it has done is allow me to use the “pain” and “hurt” to justify my actions (or lack thereof) and to give me a platform from which to throw flaming arrows when all else fails.
It has shaped how I respond in certain situations and governed my point-of-view.

I understand that it has to stop, that the time has come to pull the bitter weed. The soil in which it thrived has been fouled. It will need to be nurtured to allow good things to grow - things that will benefit and edify, not tear down and belittle.

Understanding does not equal ability. Not by a long-shot.
This is going to require much work on my part to release the demons that I have allowed to live - rent free - in my heart, soul and mind for a long while now.
Evicting them won’t be an easy task.

They have remodeled, added built-in bookcases, invited family to move in and have generally trashed the place.
There will be much work to do even after they are gone. Tearing down of walls and repairing of foundational structures – just to start.

It is work that needs to be done. I will have to remind myself often that Rome was not built in a day. When my tendency to channel Verruca Salt kicks in, I will need to forgive myself and trust in the process.
Learning to forgive (others as well as myself) is part of my Journey. This is not an easy lesson for me. If you look behind me you’ll see drag marks where I dug in my heels – over and over again.

The time has come to let go – learn the lesson – gain the wisdom and move on. I am certain that the next lesson is waiting just around the bend.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Once Upon A Time...

There was a little girl at Fuddrucker’s tonight wearing a pink super cape and pink mask to go with her blinky-flashy canvas tennis shoes – she is my new Hero.

Even when I was her age, (4? 5?) I don’t think I would have done something so brave. From an early age I had a strong sense of what was “allowed” and what “we don’t do” so-to-speak. Don’t think I would’ve been allowed to go out for dinner in my Super Awesome Girl get-up.
That’s just what she was: Super & Awesome!

Her mommy and little brother we already inside and awaiting the arrival of “Daddy and Chloe” when we placed our order (I have Mom Ears…I hear everything). When Chloe arrived she hugged her little brother who greeted her with “OH HI!” and returned the embrace (SIGH! My kids never did that when they were little – hell, they rarely do that now as “growned ups”).
I want to be – no, I SHOULD be - more like Chloe!

Free to march around Fuddrucker’s (or any ole place I choose) as if it’s my personal establishment, flaunting my blink-flashy canvas tennis shoes and swooshing my awesome pink cape - with the lightning bolt on the back…yeah, and a mask too…a bit o’ anonymity is always good (besides, it completes the look).
Sadly…I am not Awesome, Super, Sparkly girl…I am boring, responsible, reserved, introverted little me. No blinky-flashy shoes, no cape, no mask…just my long-ish shirt (to cover my hip and rear bulges) and my plain old flipflops (comfortable but not fashionable) and my drab, capri pants.  As always, hindered by my perception of “what I am allowed to do/be/wear” in polite company.

It wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time I was that little girl – afraid of nothing (except maybe of NOT being/expressing who I was) and somewhere along the way I lost that.
When did that happen? When did I become a slave to the “rules” others have determined are proper? For that matter who died and made those people boss? Huh?!

I have photographic evidence that once, a long, long, time ago…I “dressed up”! I wore outlandish outfits and dwelled in a world fashioned out of fantasy and a vivid imagination. I built blanket forts and coerced my friends into helping me “play school” (I was pretty much always “the teacher”)and "Pioneer Explorers" in the canyons. I was free to be whomever and whatever I wanted.
Now, I play by the rules. I squash down that little girl and her Super Tendencies and I put my “professional” face forward. I work my 40-hour-week, collect my check, pay my bills and gaze longingly at those who are able to express themselves freely.

What the hell happened?!
To Chloe’s Mommy and Daddy I say: Thank you! Keep up the good work! You have a Super Awesome Sparkly Girl! Don’t let her lose that spark!

As for me? I will stive to be more like “Super Chloe”! Sparkly, Awesome, Blinky-flashy and most importantly SUPER!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Comfort Zone

^This quote^
I saw this quote the other day and it struck something deep within me.
Most of my life I hid beneath the cover of shyness.

Looking back I realize that the truth is that I was afraid. Fear was the paralytic that held me in place – halting forward progress.

Realizing this, and looking back over my life, it makes me sad. There are gifts that I was blessed with that I didn’t share because of this fear. Opportunities were missed because of the lies fear whispered to me.
The few times I was able to rise above the fear a powerful joy to take its place.

And then, one day, I made the choice to become a nurse.  
There is no room in nursing for the kind of fear that had filled my life up to that point.

In order to succeed at my dream I HAD to step outside of what I knew, outside my habits and what was comfortable, and be - *GULP* - uncomfortable.
An amazing thing happened when I chose to be uncomfortable – my definition of “uncomfortable” began to shift. The very act of doing something that made me uncomfortable allowed me to *become* comfortable doing it!

This phenomenon continued as I progressed through my nursing courses, after graduation and on into my personal life. What I define as my “comfort level” changes each day. I have stepped so far beyond the boundaries that previously held me in check that I can’t even see that place from where I stand today.
I still have fears – old habits die hard. Every day I struggle with choosing the uncomfortable over that which is familiar and “safe”.  That voice of doubt still whispers in my ear: “What if you fail?” “What if you totally suck at this?” “What if they laugh at you?”

What if it’s AMAZING? What if *I* am AMAZING?!
…go away fear…I am going to try “uncomfortable” today!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Are We There Yet?

Have you ever set a goal for yourself or embarked on a personal journey?
Maybe, it was a decision to go back to school and finish something you started years ago. Perhaps it was choosing a different profession that requires starting over, from scratch. It might even be something as simple as adding exercise to your daily routine.

Or, it might be that you just “became aware” one day that you are supposed to be doing a certain thing with your life – as if the Universe was nudging you in a specific direction.
No matter what the goal or journey is, we often form a mental picture of what achieving that goal will mean; what life will look like when we cross the proverbial finish line. That image becomes a focal point.

Every journey begins with that first step. Often, the first steps involve research and laying ground work for success on the journey we have chosen. As we map out the road ahead we are filled with the amazing-ness of what we are about to do.  It’s all very exciting.
And then, the real work begins.

The thing is, sometimes we start down a path only to realize that it’s a lot more work than we imagined. It might even take longer to reach the end than we originally thought.
There may be times when the work is just too much – when we just can’t anymore.

Sometimes life throws curveballs at us. We might be happily walking down our new path and checking items off the To Do List when suddenly a huge DETOUR sign appears before us.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a professional goal, school, a spiritual journey, physical fitness, or parenthood…there are always bumps in the road of Life’s Journey.

We know this.
Knowing is half the battle.

Allowing is the other half.
No matter how frustrating and painful the detours may be we have to trust that all things happen for a reason. ALL THINGS. There are lessons hidden in even the darkest moments we endure on our Journeys here. Allowing the lessons to come to us and accepting what they offer can enrich us beyond our wildest imagination.

Fighting against the bumps and detours only causes more pain – spiritually and physically.  Go with it – ask the Universe what it is that you are supposed to be learning (be sure to take note of whatever the lesson is) - and wait for the challenge to pass.
Always remember: you are not in this alone! We’ve all been there. Ask your fellow human beings for support!

Oh, and this is important: BREATHE!!
When we are stressed, worried or hyper focused we tend to forget to take deep, cleansing breaths! Breathing deeply, from the center of our being, is vital for healing and grounding ourselves.

All of us are on journeys. We are all working toward goals and dreams. Enjoy your Journey and honor others as they walk theirs.
The Universe knows the moment when you will arrive at the end of this Journey – be patient – you WILL get there. You may find that the end result is far more amazing than what you imagined. Sometimes our minds put limits on things that the Universe refuses to observe.  =)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Of Faith and Promises

After spending nearly 50 years with the same person, you know them pretty well. You can almost read their mind and, usually, you can finish their sentences.

The vows you took bind you together with loving, honoring, cherishing and faithfulness to each other through thick and thin.
You’ve memorized their unconscious habits and the quirks of their personality. Perhaps you can even recognize them from a great distance solely from their movements or their walk. The sound of their voice is discernible even across a crowded and noisy room.

Imagine what it would be like if your partner, your soul-mate, suddenly lost their ability to communicate with you; their ability to speak gone in an instant. All that you knew to be truth changed – a new reality settled in its place.
Will your ability to seemingly “read their mind” prove to be accurate? When there are no sentence fragments to guide you – will you know all the answers?

Imagine, further, that along with the loss of their voice they have lost the use of half of their body. One whole side completely useless and limp. Everyday things like: eating, bathing, dressing, toileting…all impossible without the aid of another.
A love nurtured and deepened over nearly five decades put to the test in the refining fires of a stroke.

Sudden. Without warning. Silent.
Occasionally, in my line of work, I get to witness the kind of love it takes to weather that kind of storm.

Once, in a blue moon, I walk away from a situation feeling blessed and honored to have been in the presence of something that I cannot fully comprehend.
Last week I had one of those rare moments.

I watched as one spouse cared for the other and struggled to understand the “language” that the brain had created in the absence of true speech. Facial expressions, intonation and one-handed gestures all there was to go on.
In the several weeks since the stroke “yes”, “no” and “ok” had been regained. At least, now, there was confirmation of accuracy - immediately. Most of the time their closeness and the ability of one to understand the other proves accurate and the ailing spouse is “heard”!

The love they share is palpable and overwhelming. As I witnessed the strength of their marriage vows I was filled awe.

They do as much together as possible and their teamwork is allowing the slow and steady return of strength and movement in the limbs affected by the stroke. They have faith that, in time, full use of the affected limbs will return.

They have faith.
That is the cornerstone of their relationship. They share a faith in God that surpassed the “tragedy” that took away (temporarily) a voice and the ability to use one arm and one leg. They are holding on to that faith with everything they have.
“For better or for worse”

“In sickness and in health”
Those words carry more weight when spoken in the context of a major illness. I can only hope that I will pass the test should I ever be faced with a challenge such as theirs.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sticks and Stones

I used to chant that children’s rhyme a lot when I was a kid…but I never really believed it. Still don’t.

“Names” – when hurled in anger - can and do hurt. A lot.

I’ve been called a lot of mean things by many different people in my life…most I choose to forget. Some, I can never erase from my mind. I’m sure you’ve heard these words used carelessly in your life as well:

Stupid                                 Worthless                                           Useless

Ungrateful                          Crazy                                                    Ugly

Fat                                        Liar                                                       Dumbass

As we get older “names” can take different forms. Something like an off-hand remark by a colleague or an email you weren’t supposed to see, or even not being invited for drinks after work can be just as painful as being called “doo-doo head” by the kid next door.

The pain can be even deeper if the name calling is preceded by something (an act or event) that was stressful to begin with. Like realizing you’ve made a mistake. That alone is jarring…painful.

Having to own up to you error, and the scope of it, is torture. Apologizing for the mistake is not super-comfy either. Any “name calling” that occurs in that sort of situation can have a deep and scarring impact on a person’s integrity and their heart-of-hearts.

I am just as guilty of “name calling” as the next person…I’ve let words fly without thinking…and wished, too late, that I could take those words back. There have been occasions when I have stubbornly refused to accept a heartfelt apology based on my own pain and, perhaps, a desire to make the other person suffer along with me.

Every day, each of us has moments that give us an opportunity to choose our words and decide whether we impact those who will hear them in a positive or negative way. Choose wisely.

Words are precious. Words can never be taken back. It behooves us to THINK about what we are about to say – to ponder the potential impact they may have on the person(s) we are speaking to, near or about – BEFORE we utter them…releasing them, and their energy, into the universe forever.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Not in a Box...Not with a Fox

When I was a little girl, my mother loved to serve peas with our dinner. It seemed like there were peas on my plate  on far too many nights.
I was not a fan of the peas. Not. At. All.

Peas were mushy and slimy. Peas made me gag. Literally.
There were evenings when I would try to strike a bargain with my mom…”If you let me not eat my peas…I’ll…wash all the windows for you.”…never worked.

I got the standard speeches about “starving children in Africa” and the “poor children without mommies and daddies who’d love to have my peas”…I offered to let them have the stupid peas on more than one occasion. That usually earned me a week or so of no TV or even no playing outside (which used to actually be a punishment).

There came a time when my mother was over the whole thing. She sat me down and explained to me that she was The Mom. As such she was allowed to dictate what was on my dinner plate. Because I was The Child I had to eat what was on my plate or go hungry and risk losing privileges. Period.
Then she said the magic words that I have held close to my heart ever since: “When you’re The Mom you don’t ever have to serve peas in your house.”
**Hallelujah Chorus**

Yes!! One day I would be the one controlling what was on my dinner plate! AWESOME! Never mind that that day was eons away – it was a hope I could hold on to.
Additionally, Mom conceded that it would be OK if I held my nose when downing the nefarious peas…at least they were going in my tummy.

Fast forward thirty-something years to this evening. I tried a new recipe in my crock pot and made mashed potatoes to go along with that. What to do for a veggie? I looked in my freezer…there, staring back at me was the large bag of “organic peas” that I bought as part of a Cowboy Pie recipe I make frequently (the peas are part of a mish-mash of ingredients – you can hardly taste them! ).
Hmmmm? Peas? Maybe…NAH!!

But…then again. What harm could it do. I’m The Mom now…right? I do NOT have to eat them if I still *hate* them…right?
Here’s the rub… We might want to send someone to check on hell…see if it’s frozen over.

I sorta liked ‘em.
There! I said it! I like peas!  They were rather yummy with a bit of butter and some sea salt.

Please, don’t tell my mom =)