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Next week is Thanksgiving and…

It has me thinking about this past year. Ya, I know, people save the looking back for New Years….but… I’m not most people.

This year has had some pretty interesting turns, and unexpected twists. Relationships have ended. New babies were born. I’ve said good-bye to an old job, old co-workers, and old stress. And said hello to a new job, new co-workers and a lot less stress. I’ve watched my kids grow further into their adulthood. Amazed by who they are, and what they’ve become. I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. I’ve played the music a little to loud…

Through all of it though I have learned one thing. The most important thing in life is this one moment. You can list the hundreds, thousands of things in your life which are important but…will they still be important if this one moment ends?

You see, I caught myself not paying attention to this one moment. My mind would wander when listening to someone talk. I’d check my phone, or even play on it, when those important to me were right in front of me. I checked out, before I checked in.

I stressed about the future…about oh, so may things. I squandered each and every moment. I even stressed about the past. Seriously! You know, the ‘what-was’, the ‘what-might-have-been’s.’ I couldn’t keep my mind focused on one single thing!

I wasted so much time!!!!

Here’s the thing though… all the stressing, all the anger, frustration, hopelessness, worrying,…it all takes you away from this one single moment. The things we think we can control, we can’t. Hell, control is a persistent delusion we all share. We should probably all be medicated for it but, that’s a whole other post.

I couldn’t control my position being eliminated. I can’t control the bills which roll in without end. Yes, I can try to save electricity…but I can’t control a rate increase, or the electrical box going out. I can’t control what another person does…you can, but it is usually deemed illegal… and I’m trying to avoid the whole ethical vs. moral debate here…

We spend our lives trying to control an endless timeline of events. The past, the present, the future, the idiot who just dropped gum and is laughing at the kid spreading it across the parking lot…

One moment. 60 seconds. That is the only time we need to focus on.

Think about your day. From the time you arose, to the time you went to bed. Within that time, did you find joy? Did you have one moment where you felt real joy?  Did you laugh today? Did you laugh at little things, or big? Did you accomplish what you set out to today? Would you call your day successful, or are you still worrying and missing out on joy?

Would you believe me if I said I experienced hundreds of moments of joy today? Would you believe my day was filled with laughter? I would call my day a complete success, and truly enjoyed it.

I wouldn’t have said that two months ago…but…

I stopped focusing on all the noise in my life. And there was A LOT of noise. Most of it played out within my own mind. Do you know how hard it is to shut down an overthinking mind? There are still times it wins…but it’s learning.

When I find myself falling back into the old habit. When I’ve lost focus, and feel the stress rising. I stop…close my eyes…take a deep breath…. and tell myself, “You only have this one moment. This one moment is YOUR moment. Will you waste it?” Then I look around for one thing which brings me joy, one which makes me laugh, and one which will help me get back on task. I let everything else go.

And you know what I’ve learned since I started doing this? I’ve learned this one moment is pretty damn awesome! I’ve also learned there is an endless supply of things which bring me joy, make me laugh, and get me back on task. I have learned how to stop the world….

It’s unfortunate it took me so long to figure it all out. Can you imagine the joy, laughter and accomplishments there would have been? Especially if I would have figured it out when I was younger?

So, while Thanksgiving approaches next week. I am thankful for the year I have had. I look forward to the year to come. And I will celebrate each moment…because we only have this one.

So for tonight…may your days be filled with joy, may laughter always be easy to find, may your goals always be within reach, and your one moment be worthy of your all. Thank you, for sharing this one moment with me.

Goodnight my friends.

 

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…in a Moment…

aHR0cCUzQSUyRiUyRnN0YXRpYy5tZXNzeW5lc3N5Y2hpYy5jb20lMkZ3cC1jb250ZW50JTJGdXBsb2FkcyUyRjIwMTYlMkYxMiUyRjMwOTg3NjM4MDgwX2I4NDAxOWE4MTZfay05MzB4NjIwLmpwZw==I can neither control the future, nor change the past. Yet, my mind puts them at the forefront of my thoughts.

I struggle to release the past. There is fear, anger, bitterness there which hangs on worse then gum on a shoe. I know holding on to it serves no purpose. Through the years I have began to see a pattern.

The past whether a week ago, a month ago, or even a year ago rarely crosses my mind. I can go back five, ten years ago and my mind yawns. It apparently has released all fear, anger and bitterness it may have experienced.

It proves two things. One, the mind is capable of letting go, and two, at some point my perspective on what was important changed. I would like to think it changed for the better…but I’m not so sure.

The easy answer would be at some point I grew up. I put away childish fears and anger, because I was no longer a child. I admit, I do like that answer. It is simple, easy, problem solved. Right?

What if the answer is darker? What if the answer wasn’t so simple?

Josh Groban has a song called Weeping. Great song. One of my favorites. It starts out with:

I knew a man who lived in fear
It was huge, it was angry,
It was drawing near
Behind his house a secret place
Was the shadow of the demon
He could never face

He built a wall of steel and flame
And men with guns to keep it tame
Then standing back he made it plain
That the nightmare would never ever rise again
But the fear and the fire and the guns remain

In many ways I am that man. Many years of fear and anger. Things I did not now, nor ever, want to face. I built walls, fortified them, and protected them. The more walls I built the happier I was…sort of…

The chorus of the song continues:

It doesn’t matter now it’s over anyhow
He tells the world that it’s sleeping
But as the night came round I heard
It lowly sound
It wasn’t roaring, it was weeping
It wasn’t roaring, it was weeping

The thing is, I am both the man and the demon. You cannot build walls to keep your demons in, without binding yourself to those walls. You have to guard them and make sure no one cab cross them. It is exhausting! And proof we are our own worst enemies after all.

Building those walls takes time and effort. Isolates you. Keeps people at bay but destroys each day and makes the past unforgettable. You build the wall high enough and it is always there….always looming…always reminding you…always…always hopeless.

It blots out the future too. You can’t see beyond it. It has each day mired in bricks and mortar. Steeped in dread and fear. Tinged with anger…at yourself mostly, for building the damn walls in the first place. When you FINALLY realize what you’ve done. The task of dismantling the walls seems daunting. Where do you begin? What if you’re wrong? What if life throws you curve balls again? What if you end up hurt again? What if…? What if…? What if…?

All the questions lead me to one realization. The hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life, besides surviving death, is live each moment. It isn’t easy. I’d rather go back to fighting for my life.

We spend our lives regretting the past, or worrying about the future. We spend very little time in the moment. It is amazing what we miss by living this way. As I’ve started dismantling my walls I’ve put some of the past to rest. There is still work to be done. I don’t know if I will ever finish. I do know I have found more joy in each moment.

When my mind decides it needs to obsess over the future I remind myself, this moment is the only one which matters. In this moment there are miracles, beauty, and joy. This moment is mine. Am I living it? Am I sharing it with someone? Am I fully appreciating it?

I pull myself out of those future worries and past regrets. I focus on only the moment I am in. I appreciate the light of the lamp next to me, without it I’d surely step on a black cat tail or two. I am thankful for those little tails and all their mischief.

I see pictures of my kids, and grandkids, and am instantly filled with a sense of wonder and pride. These amazing young people are so much more then I will ever be. I know I don’t tell them I love them enough. I have an endless number of wonderful, amazing people in my life. Heroes in their own right.

When my mind is caught in the battle of past and future…I don’t see the miracles, or the beauty, or the joy… I see only worry, and doubt, and anger, and fear, and…I choose not to live in that space any more.

There are two quotes from the Dalai Lama which have been kicking around my head as I’ve written this…they are:

“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.” ― Dalai Lama

“What surprises me most is “Man”, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he doesn’t enjoy the present; The result being he doesn’t live in the present or the future; He lives as if he’s never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.” – Dalai Lama

For tonight…make a choice. Will you continue to live in past regrets and future worries? Or…will you choose this moment? Will this moment spark your next moment? Will this moment be more then a fleeting blip on your radar? Can you allow yourself to live authentically in this moment?

I hope you choose this moment, and the moments which follow as they arrive. There is so much peace and joy, and small miracles and large, and beauty and wonder in this single moment. You deserve all of it! It is being handed to you. If you just take a moment to relish it. It is a moment you will never get back. What a waste it would be to spend it on the past or future.

Live your moment. Live it fully. When the past and future threaten to take over, close your eyes, remind yourself “This is my moment” and start counting the little things you would have missed letting the outside world steal your moment.

Happiness happens in a moment. What will your moment be? Goodnight my friends.

I was once told I was secretive.

The statement came as a surprise to me…along with the physical slap to the face.

I have never seen myself as secretive. Quiet, yes, but secretive? If anything I’m a bit to honest, lack tact, and say exactly what I’m thinking. Ask me a question, and I won’t hesitate to give you the answer. Whether you want to hear it or not…and usually without stopping to think about the response. I say what I’m thinking, before I think what I’m saying. That’s where the lack of tact comes in. First thought, is first response.

I’ve always seen myself as very honest and open. It also depends on the people I’m surrounded by at the time, which brings me back to the statement and slap. The person who accused me of being secretive was far more secretive then I have ever been.

Answering the phone required them to rush to another room. Talking to someone within ear shot in whispered tones was far more indicative of secrecy then my quietness. Going through a persons room and removing ‘unacceptable’ items, secretly, would never make it to the top ten of “How to win friends and influence people.” It is also not a recommended way to win someones trust.

It did, however, encourage me to talk even less. I, unfortunately perhaps, have this strong desire to not cause harm. That means not causing harm by action, word, or deed. I knew then, as I still know now, that saying something would have caused harm.

Knowing someone was randomly going through my room and removing items they deemed evil, or just not acceptable, was disconcerting. Many of the items removed were gifts from my mother. Items which had memories tied to them. Memories which mattered at the time. The pain of their removal is something I have never talked about…until this moment.

I may have been a teenager at the time, but I was still struggling with the knowledge that my mother wanted a couch more than me. She chose baby pictures, and baby clothes, over my well-being and general existence. I was a pawn being used against the only person I trusted, my father.

I lost everything I knew, and continued to lose. Looking back, I know it was around this time depression really took over. I slept if I wasn’t working or in school. I isolated myself in hopes I could just forget. I hated being home. I wouldn’t go out with friends often, because I didn’t want to spend time at home introducing them. I kept talking on the phone to a minimum as well. I knew anything I said would be held against me by a court of one. It just wasn’t worth the hassle.

Closing down was easier. Silence was easier. Working as much as I could, was easier. Books were my friends and family. The part which really hurt was losing my father. The distance between us grew. We talked less. Spent less time together.

I know the fault lies on my shoulders. I was so afraid of telling him what was going on. Afraid he’d say, “I know, I told her to,” or accuse me of lying about it. If he did know, it meant I really had lost everything. If he didn’t know, I didn’t want to risk causing arguments, or possibly someone else leaving. I just couldn’t do that to him. Yet to this day I have never mentioned any of this to him.

Looking back, I see ways I could have approached the issue. At 16 though, those ways never crossed my mind. Am I angry about all of it? I was. I know now anger is just a symptom. A way of expressing feelings we’d rather not feel. And yes, I still have those feelings. Hurt mostly, because I never understood the how, or why of it all.

How do you break someones trust, act unapproachable, and behave secretively, then expect a person to be open with you? If I had been on drugs. I could have seen a just cause or, if I came home drunk on a regular basis, The thing was…I never did either.

And yes, I did come home drunk one time…it sucked and it was when I realized I had a Methyphobia – fear of becoming an alcoholic. I failed miserably at being a rebellious teenager; I attended parties to make sure people made it home safe. Real wild and crazy there!

A part of me does understand the person, and their actions, now. It doesn’t erase the hurt, but I do feel very sorry for them. You cannot attempt to control people, in any manner, and have it work in your favor. It will always cause a rift. A tear in the fabric of trust.

I do wish I had some of the items back. The t-shirts from Master Yoon and my mother. The other clothing items from my mother. The old football jersey I bought when Melbeta closed and used as pajamas/comfy clothes. The missed chance to go to the 1988 Olympics. Funny how these things still matter after all these years.

I can see how people could perceive me as being secretive. I am quiet, and I completely suck at small talk. But, a historical case could be made for the cause. My mind will never let me forget. I will always feel sorrow for the person. I know their heart is in the right place, and I am thankful they are so caring. Their need to control their environment stems from their history and I work to kept that in mind.

All of my bitching above is nothing more then a catharsis for me. I have needed to release those words for many years. Tonight, there was no holding them back. If you have read this far, please know, I by no means see myself as innocent in any of it.

We each have a picture of the world as we believe it should be. This means we believe people should behave a certain way, speak a certain way, dress a certain way. It is a picture of the expectations, and often limitations, we hold for ourselves. When others do not live up to our picture, we perceive them as wrong, un-trust worthy, lacking, lazy, ill kept, secretive, etc. The list goes on.

We are the ones who are lacking though. When we do not take the time to learn about the other persons picture. Our pasts, friends, family, experiences, all worked to create our picture. It is those things which make us wonderfully different. We need to spend less time judging each others pictures, and just enjoy the picture for all it is worth.

My picture is no Monet. It has blank spaces yet to be filled. It has tears and cuts yet to be repaired. But, it also has beauty, peace, history, love, and a sense of wonder. I cherish it as much as I cherish your picture; unique with never-ending possibilities.

So for today I say…marvel at your picture, take the time to learn about someone else’s picture…no judgements, no expectations, and no imposing your beliefs on to theirs. It is our actions, words and deeds which cause the most harm when we do not stop to enjoy the beauty of each others picture. While your vantage point on the world may be a meadow the other persons could be a cliff. I know mine was at one time…it is the biggest secret I have ever kept.

Goodnight my friends.

Lesson’s from Life

I actually learned something from life this month. Amazing, right?

I was once asked, at a job interview, if I handled stress well. I thought it was an odd question at the time. Once I was hired for the position I fully understood why they had asked. It was a highly stressful job, but I survived, thrived, and advanced. It was a valuable learning experience.

What I didn’t realize was, while the stress of the job lessened it never ended. It morphed into a different form of stress. It became a deepening depression and manageable anxiety.

Having been diagnosed with PTSD, Manic Depression, Anxiety/Panic disorder years ago. It never occurred to me to question the source of the deepening depression and flares of anxiety. I assumed it was all originating within me. An external, environmental factor never crossed my mind. Until this past weekend.

Last week I received, what would be devastating news to many. And perhaps, at another time in my life, it would have knocked me to my knees. This time though…it was a relief. A weight off my shoulders, full body, absolute relief.

And as the days have passed since that moment. The realization has deepened. I was miserable. Physically, mentally reaching the broken point. The only thing keeping me from breaking was the heroes in my life. They were the source of my perseverance. The only saving grace in a darkening world.

Since last week, and my sudden realization. I have re-found many of the joys of life I’d tucked away. I’ve created, read, written, and de-stressed. I have felt more relaxed and at peace then I have in years. Each day it grows, and expands, into new discoveries.

The next time I am at a job interview which asks if I can handle stress. My answer will be, “No!”. Not because I can’t handle it, but because I refuse to lose myself again. It is nowhere near worth the cost.

The saying, ‘Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life,’ is not true. I loved my job. I loved what I did. Instead of finding a job you love. Find a job which brings you peace and joy. Once you find that job, never let it go. And if you can’t find it…create it!

Your life is so much more valuable then the all mighty dollar. No business will ever pay you what you are worth. You have value beyond measure. Believe in it!

For today…never forget. Search for joy instead of happiness. Happiness is fleeting, joy goes straight to the heart and your soul. Right where it is needed most.

 

And I will Write…

Once upon a time I use to write.

I wrote letters to people my own age in foreign countries. I wrote letters to relatives in other states. I wrote journal entry after journal entry. I wrote, and wrote, and wrote.

I wrote to make the day better, or get through a day I thought would never end. I wrote because I was happy, or mad, or sad, or because I just didn’t understand. Writing made sense. Writing made the world make sense.

Then….I stopped writing. I lost my love of words, and books, and poetry, and…lost a piece of myself in the noise of the world. That never ending noise of be this, do this, act this way, talk this way, use this product, believe this belief, dress this way, do your hair this way, this matters but not this… the endless noise of mindlessness.

It hit me when I was young. I saw it first in speech class. The teacher telling me I’d never be a writer because I couldn’t stand before a crowd of rambunctious teenagers and speak. What writing had to do with public speaking I’ve yet to reconcile in logic. I still have a lot to learn about writing, and public speaking, but neither have ever stopped me from writing.

Depression. Now that has stopped me from writing. It has stopped me from so much. Enslaved my mind and body in endless darkness, while setting my imagination in flight with what could be…if only…and then crushing it deeper with fear and dread. You raise your head, gasp for air, only to find a depth of despair you never knew existed.

And still, I write…

Not often. Not like I use to. Maybe a note. Maybe a scribble. But I write. No matter the darkness within me. No matter how deep the hopelessness drags me. I fight, and write, and trudge on.

They have a name for what ails me. They always have a name. Bi-polar 2. What a name… Why name it such a boring thing? Bi-polar 2. All I can think is Polar Express, but I expect no Christmas train comes with this disastrous label. No bells and whistles, but maybe… demons and broken angel wings. I’m sure I’ve seen both in my darkest hours.

And still, I write….

There are nights…like tonight… I question the sanity of it all. Why do we all fight so hard for our labels? I am a certifiably eclectic, sometimes erratic, frayed walking catastrophe. I’ll proudly wear that label. It gets to the heart of who I am. No other sociologically acceptable label does. Yet so many will fight for the label society hands them. There in lies true madness.

And still, I write….

I am finding my missing link. The part of me who wrote for the love of writing. I see her in the distance. She waves now and then. I think she misses me as much as I miss her.

And so I will write…

I will write the story as the story reveals itself. I will write this moment, because this moment is precious. I will write my ups, and downs. Even when the downs out number the ups. I will write my hero’s, for they are many, and are worthy of being immortalized. I will write the truth within my soul, even at its darkest.

Because, I will write…

No matter where the words shall lead me. They are the one absolute I can trust in a world of ever changing rules, and labels. Even in silence there are words. Silence screams, and darkness listens. I find comfort and fear in both. Knowing this, I thank whatever gods may be…for my unconquerable soul. I AM the master of my fate…. and I will write!

Invictus

By William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.

A Call to Arms

Re-blogging from Wicked Witch of the Midwest.

when hope diesPolitics and religion.

Two topics best skirted in mixed company. At least, that is what I’ve always been taught. Being who I am though; I find them hard to avoid. In the world of this new president, Trump, I am the enemy: Female, bi-sexual, Witch, married to a woman. In Trump’s desire to “Make America Great,” again. My world views, life style, and belief system do not fit the mold.

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
―Catherine of Siena

I am a pacifist by nature. I firmly believe each person deserves respect. That respect extends to their beliefs, lifestyle and world view. I can no more expect others to live up to my ‘picture’ of what they should be, then I can live up to theirs. This way of thinking is quickly verging on illegal with the new administration. There is an inherent sadness with this realization.

“We should try to leave the world a better place than when we entered it. As individuals, we can make a difference, whether it is to probe the secrets of Nature, to clean up the environment and work for peace and social justice, or to nurture the inquisitive, vibrant spirit of the young by being a mentor and a guide.”
― Michio Kaku

In a diverse and wonderful world, fear should never be a motivator. It is fear which guides those in power now. It is with fear I now view the future. My trepidation growing daily.

It is for this reason I ask the following…

A call has went out among the community to do two things.

  1. Light a vigil candle, nightly, to help light the way to true change, peace, and understanding.
  2. In the course of your practices, perform a binding to prevent the current administration from doing harm.

The world is in a state of flux. Minds which were once closed are now opening. The world view is changing. Guided more by love, inclusion, and peace. We cannot allow a few to derail all the good which has been accomplished.

We must believe one voice can make a difference. “We the People…,” need to speak louder. I started with the two steps above, and followed up by going to: https://impeachdonaldtrumpnow.org and signing.

I do not believe Trump means to harm. He is not evil, or bad, just archaic in his fundamental ideals. He is a small man, hungry with power and it is this hunger which must be tempered. For the good of all, harming none.

Blessed Be my friends!

And may the future hold more peace, and less fear.

thankyouI am not good with Thank You.

It is not that I have problems saying thank you. I can enunciate thank you effortlessly, and often. The words roll of the tongue like dew off a leaf. The ease in which we use these two words frightens me. I have an innate sense of the minuteness of the words. They lack the ability to convey the profound depth of emotion behind them. They cannot portray the surge of love, relief, gratitude, and overwhelming desire to express the deepest aspects of our soul.

Thank you.

You’re welcome.

We move on.

Never hearing, or comprehending, the endless depth of sincerity. Yes, we throw the words a round at times. The rush of meetings, ringing phones, honking horns, encroaching voices. A quick, “Thank you,” typed hastily at the close of an email. Nothing more then simple words. These are not the thank you’s I refer to.

I mean the thank you’s I cannot put into words. The ones surmised in unwritten cards. The unsaid. Blank. Lonely. Heartbreakingly meant more deeply than expressed. These are the Thank You’s I cannot verbalize. The words catch deep in my chest; to never leave my lips.

How does one say, “Thank You!,” when what is meant is, “You saved my life!”? “You mean the world to me!”, does not fit in two simple words.

“Your assistance was vital!”

“Having you here meant the world to me!”

“What would I do without you?”

Even the depth of gratitude in these phrases fails miserably to portray the truth.

To put pen to paper, to say Thank You, is my nemesis. It is a profound short coming in my character. I have yet to find a viable solution to rectify this matter. I’ve searched. I’ve written. I’ve tossed many great ideas. And still, I come up short.

In truth, I blame it solely on fear of failure. I’m terrified of not saying enough…or saying to much…or not saying the right thing…or saying the right thing…or…. the complexity of the fear stills my hand.

A psychologist, I’m sure, would say it is due to lack of social, and emotional, development throughout my formative years. I, however, would not trade my years of quiet contemplation, alone, surrounded by animals. Solitude in nature portends many lessons. Most importantly, a deeper understanding of our connection.

Still, Thank You is a weight I do not carry lightly. Although my actions may incur doubt when my silence persists. I will sit here, nightly, dumbfounded and struggling simply to say, Thank You. Those words carry with them my soul; a depth and breadth one cannot conceive, nor portray.

And I will hope, for today, you grasp my ‘Thank You,’ as one grasps a life raft. Clinging, pulling it closer, in the realization you are the reason for my thankfulness. Your existence, your very being, the miracle which is you, is the reason I go on. Always.

My heroes. My angels. My family. My friends. From my heart to yours, Thank you!