It’s a new life for me

Every year I see and hear people say how the previous year was horrible or otherwise not positive. All the challenges that the Universe brings us are simply lessons to be learned in order to move forward. I cannot change my past, but I can learn from it and go forward hopefully a little wiser and with more discernment into my future. 2013 was a year of many lessons for me, and I go forth into 2014 with what I was taught through my experiences–good, bad, or indifferent–and hope that I meet each new lesson with grace and kindness. It’s a new day, a new year, a new life, and you know what? I AM feeling good.

Postcards from the Edge

Life has been full of changes this summer. With everything happening I haven’t taken much opportunity to write beyond in my private journal. Some of the changes I will be writing about and sharing in the weeks and months ahead; some will stay in my private journal as a personal reminder of what I’ve been able to overcome during the tumultuous recent months. For now I leave you all with this little gem that has recently come into my awareness. Some of these lessons were learned recently and hard-won. The Universe smacked me upside the head with the rest to make certain I remembered the lesson.

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The Zen of Acceptance

This week I took Kidlet to the airport for her annual visit with her paternal grandparents. Right from the start the day was just off. We left the house 30 minutes later than I wanted. We got to the terminal only to discover I had left her boarding pass that Mom so wonderfully printed off for us back at the house. The line to check her bags actually went rather quickly, and we were even able to print off a new boarding pass with the same spot Mom had secured the day before. The agent assisting us told us the flight was on time, but in the 90 seconds it took us to walk to security, I noticed on the reader board her flight was delayed 20 minutes. Sweet! A little breathing room to get through security without having to race to the gate. TSA was quick that morning, so we were able to grab a sandwich and a drink for Boo before her flight was going to leave. That’s when they announced that her flight was going to be delayed for six hours. Thoughts kept racing through my brain.

My parking garage fee was going to be huge. Money is tight right now, but I couldn’t just abandon Kidlet at the airport to figure this out on her own. She’s flown the past couple of years on her own, but she’s never had to deal with this kind of delay or know to ask one of the gate agents what to do. So I sent a text to her grandmother and settled in for a long day of waiting with Boo until she was able to take off. Fortunately, I had a completely clear day. Nowhere to go and no one to see. Just projects at home that could wait. Around noon we got hungry so we checked in with the gate agent, got Boo on a standby list, and was told to come back in two hours to see if she could get on the earlier flight. We had a very nice lunch together and walked the concourse afterwards. We chatted about various things and really had some great bonding time together.

When we returned to the gate we found out her flight had been canceled altogether, but she would be able to get on another that was going to leave two hours later with the small possibility she’d still get on the earlier one. No dice there, but she was a trooper. I could tell she was exhausted from her early wake-up time and rush out the door. She hooked up into the airport wifi and watched Myth Busters while we waited. I chatted with one of the agents about the clusterfuck that happened. Between mechanical difficulties and weather weirdness, a couple of flights had been canceled. She mentioned how a few adults turned into toddlers. Yeah, that could have been me 10-15 years ago, but I had since learned not to take out my frustration on someone who had absolutely no control over the circumstances (something that I still struggle with on occasion). I watched these ladies shuffle travelers around to different flights so people could make their connections and take the verbal abuse with grace and several deep breaths. I told her while I could’ve been one of those tantrum-throwing toddlers in adult bodies, I decided to look at the positives of my day.

Boo and I had great bonding time. I’m finally able to enjoy her more as she transitions from a child into a lovely young woman. I’m certain there will be many more days of frustration and worry in the next four years, but there will be far more days when she will surprise me with her insightfulness and make me proud with her compassion and grace under fire. I’m grateful my day was clear of appointments or work, so I could be there to guide her through a difficult time. Though money is tight, at least we have enough now to cover the unexpected expense, plus the added bonus of the airline giving us a voucher for future travel. The agent noted that I had a great attitude about the day and suggested I write to customer service to see if I might get some of those additional costs compensated. I thanked her for the suggestion, and as I walked away something else occurred to me. This kind of attitude applies to many areas of my life, especially right now.

There are many things going on right now that are out of my control. I find myself in a place in my life that I never expected to be even just a few short months ago. With depression hitting our household pretty hard these past several months, our various relationships have been affected more than any of us wanted. Being poly means our other partners are also feeling the effects. We’ve all had to take a step back so we can figure out how to untangle the messes and be able to move forward again. Husband Darling and I need to focus on ourselves and Kidlet for the time being.

There are things happening that I do not understand and things that I don’t like (sometimes one and the same), but all I can do is to Accept what Is without always understanding or liking the circumstances. I struggle daily with simply accepting what is, but I’m doing the best I can with the information I have and change what is within my power to do so. Project Purge continues to move forward. My professional ducks are lining up, and I’m now waiting on others before my next step. We are preparing for Kidlet’s transition into high school via Web Academy. Husband Darling is applying for different employment almost daily. Getting many of my health issues managed has brought to light other issues that I’ll need to explore with my doctor. Husband Darling suggested I try meditation. I am re-learning to enjoy my life again and taking one day at a time.

Several months ago I ran across this lovely quote from an interview with Anthony Hopkins. It resonated deeply with me, and I felt a moment of clarity click into place. So many choices I’ve made in my life were leading me down this Zen path. “Acceptance” has become my daily mantra. Some days it’s two steps forward and the next is three steps back. What matters is that I am still standing and looking for which direction I need to go next.

The Freedom of Change

change

Today my country is celebrating its Independence from its mother country. There will be barbecues, picnics, apple pie, and fireworks galore. Family and friends will gather in backyards to grill copious amounts of hot dogs while drinking beer and soda. Women and men from all branches of the military are recognized for continuing to maintain our freedom.

On a personal level I am celebrating my own freedom–freedom from thoughts, things, and people that no longer benefit me or aid in my growth.  I’m celebrating the end of a chapter in my life so I may move forward to the next. I spent far too long re-reading this last chapter. I had felt stuck on an endless loop (hello hamster wheel) and wouldn’t get off. I made it to the peak of mountain I had climbed. I looked back to see the trials and tribulations of my journey and the joy I felt with each one I overcame. But here in front of me is a whole new world waiting. I have reached the precipice, and like the Fool I must decide to stay where I am, where I am safe, or take the risk and a leap of faith to what awaits for me.

Traditionally with tarot drawing the Fool means to face one’s fears and take a risk.

These past few months I have been confronting my fears. What led me to such a dark and depressive place prior had been due to not wanting to move on. I had reached a place of safety, a place of familiarity and comfort. I was weary from all my previous battles and decided to rest a spell, as my great-grandfather would say. Problem is I stayed too long. This was always meant to be a temporary stop, not a place to set up camp permanently. The longer I stayed, the more unhappy and anxious I became. I paced through my camp, rummaging through everything looking for what I knew I was missing. I overturned rocks, searched through every nook and cranny, and yet I still couldn’t find what I was looking for. Until I turned around to see that vast Great Unknown staring back at me. Daring me to take the first step forward on my next adventure, and to move forward I had to reclaim all the lessons I learned on this Life Journey.

Recently I reconnected with my Spiritual self. Part of my spirituality crumbled when the pagan group I was a part of slowly dissolved. Part of it I kept hidden away because it made certain people in my life uncomfortable. My Spiritual self is a very important part of me, and I had chosen to keep it locked away for the sake of others. These are my beliefs. Others can share them or not, but I will no longer keep them hidden. This is my Light to shine into the World, and to shine as brightly as I once did I must reclaim my Spiritual self.

I had put aside my Calling as a bodyworker in order to be a homemaker for my family. Kidlet was at a critical point in her life where she needed me home. Keeping the home fires burning gave my Mom and Husband Darling security as they left our home to keep it financed. Everyone had healthy food to nourish their minds and bodies. This also gave me the opportunity to take a good look into my health issues and start resolving them. I’m well on the Road to Wellville, and I feel better than I have for years. I’m being Called again back to my passion and joy, to what nourishes my soul because I am able to bring health to others who are hurting. So I am answering and getting all my ducks lined up so I can once again be the Vessel of  vitality I was Called to be many years ago.

My life is making a major shift, coincidentally with my 40th birthday impending. Yes, I am scared, but am no longer frozen by it. I am finally breaking camp. I’m packing with me only what I need and leaving the rest behind. I am freeing myself of the burdens that I have allowed to bring me down and keep me from moving forward. I look out again into the Great Unknown with only Hope and an idea of what tomorrow will bring me. I take a deep breath, say a prayer to my Higher Power, and trust that my next step is in the direction I am now heading.

Wish me luck!

Life Ain’t Always Beautiful

This week has been one of many breakthroughs and aha! moments for me. I’ve had a sense of relief to finally completely let go of an old skin that never quite fit me and thought I had shed long ago. I’ve also been mourning the loss of something I never had and now fully understand that I never will. Life has been bittersweet of late.

Music has always been an intrinsic part of my life. I’ve always been able to find a song at any given point in my life that fits the situation perfectly. I haven’t been able to listen to anything melancholy while coping with my depression, but I had the urge to pop in an old CD I burned several years ago into my car stereo. When this song came on I knew I needed to hear it again with the new perspective I had gained so recently. The words of the chorus hit home, and that’s when I truly knew that I would be okay. I still have work to do, but I no longer carry the burden that weighed me down for so long. I know that I’ll be fine.

PS–What music has influenced your life? If you could create a soundtrack to your life, what songs would you choose? Please comment below. I’d love to know what music moves you.

Namaste

I received a phone call today from a very dear friend of mine whom I have not spoken to in some time. Our lives have been busy, but, like with many of my Loved Ones, we’re never far from each others’ thoughts. During our brief conversation I began to have an epiphany. She told me how she admired my strength with everything I’ve had to deal with in recent years and had wondered what kept me strong. My simple reply was “not focusing on myself”. After we hung up I went to send her an email including a link to this blog so she would have a way of keeping tabs on me. While I wrote the epiphany came full force.

I am a survivor of emotional, verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. All of that by the age of 13, and well beyond. I had my fair share of suicidal thoughts in my teens. What kept me from that path was a promise I made to myself and the Universe at that young age that I would NOT take myself away from the people who did and would have need of me. I knew then without a doubt that I had a Purpose and Calling in this lifetime that I had yet to discover. I have no idea why I was and am still so certain of that thought, especially since there have been many times that Purpose hasn’t always been clear.

My Calling I have embraced. Nothing makes me feel more at peace than when I am facilitating another’s healing through massage. I finally figured out my Purpose in the simplest of terms. I am meant to be a Beacon of Love and Light. I believe all the abuses I sustained was so I could have Empathy and Understanding of what others were going through. Our experiences may not be the same, but the end results often are. I could show them there is Hope that things can get better, that things will get better. I could show them that Love and Happiness can be theirs if they so choose. I know beyond question that I have many more lives to touch, more bodies and souls to heal, more minds to reach in mutual understanding. There are those who need me now, and so I must remain vigilant.

My epiphany? What keeps me Strong now is seeing the people I love and care about be Happy. When they include me in that happiness, I am filled with such Joy and my Strength is renewed. With Strength, I have found Wisdom. Everything I have learned in this lifetime has been because I have remained strong against so many odds. With Wisdom, I have found Serenity. There is peace in understanding my Calling and my Purpose.

I have had my doubts many times, including now, that I am loved. When I have felt my Loved Ones pull away from me, my Strength falters and doubt creeps back in. I was reminded that there are many people who love me. The Universe saw fit to put several of those people in my path today, and for that and them I am forever grateful.

PS–What keeps you strong? Please leave a comment below.

Whole

When I was young I looked for love and happiness outside of myself. I found very quickly that to depend on others for my happiness was to be let down time and again. Even those who professed to love me and want my happiness would at some point or another would say or do something (or not) that would make me sad and question whether or not they truly loved me. Often it wasn’t anything they had meant to do intentionally, though I had my fair share of those who wished me ill for whatever reason that only made sense to them. I was determined to find Love and Happiness within myself. While my heart was broken, I learned to mend it myself. Wholeness could only be found within myself. So at a tender age of 20 I went on a quest to discover how to heal my broken heart and learn to find the answers in myself how to be Happy.

The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It may look paradoxical to you, but it is not. It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of the other person – without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will be as happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other, because it is not given by the other. — Osho, Being In Love

I learned to be my own Best Friend. I learned I didn’t necessarily need anyone else in my life, and sharing my life and myself with others was something I could choose. I looked for like-minded people who were Whole in themselves. I sought relationships that would indeed enhance what I already had within me. I wanted to share myself with others who found that my being in their lives would also enhance what they possessed already.

Over the next two decades I slowly built my Heart Family. I found a man that gets me so completely and shared my odd sense of humor that I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I married him. I have a child who is kind, sweet, and has her mama’s odd sense of humor. She’s learning to be a whole person at a much younger age than I did. While she frustrates me to no end, I’m so proud of the young woman she is becoming. My Twinnie is my sister of another mister. I always felt like I had a twin but was somehow separated before birth. When she came into my life I had no idea how bonded we would become. Boyfling and his family have been wonderful additions in my life. All in all I have to say I’ve been very blessed with so many people who enhance and share love and happiness with me. Even with all these blessings, I began to notice that I wasn’t finding as much joy in them as I once did. What the hell happened?

At first the changes were subtle. I’m usually the Pollyanna in my circle. I find the things to be Glad about. Kidlet is struggling in Language Arts and Social Studies, but look at her rock math and science! We’re down to one car, but look at how money much we’re saving without the additional gas and insurance! I’m always able to find the silver lining in every dark cloud. I still had more up days than down, and even then I didn’t stay down for long. But it became harder and harder to see the brightness until one day all I saw were dark clouds and the silver linings were either a tiny sliver or non-existant. What happened to the vibrant, bouncy, positive woman I once was?

Somewhere in the brain fog brought on by the constant pain and fatigue the Light that once shone brightly from me sputtered and started to die. I was relying on everyone else around me to remind me there was still Joy in my life. After awhile others became more aware that being around me was draining. I felt people pulling away, not realizing why until my dear friend expressed her concern. I am forever grateful to her for smacking me upside the head with a gentle bludgeon. I could either do nothing and lose the people I loved, or I could start putting the pieces back together again.

Awhile back Husband Darling introduced me to the Japanese art of kintsugi. Broken pieces of pottery are mended with resin made to look like gold creating a whole new piece of art. The beauty of each piece lies in its flaws. In a way I am an ongoing kintsugi project. My heart has been broken, but I learned to put the pieces back together in a way that creates a new work of art. Yes I am flawed (as are we all), those flaws have a beauty of their own. My Heart Family knows I am flawed, but they still see the work of art that I am. While I am putting the pieces back together, someone passes me a pot of resin. Another helps keep two pieces together as I bind them. Eventually I’ll be whole again with all these wonderful people by my side who cheered me on the entire way. Tomorrow I may hand someone else the pot of resin or help hold pieces together while they do the hard work. After all we have chosen to be part of the Happiness in each others’ lives, and there’s lots of Love in that pot of resin.