The Phoenix

     “Sometimes your world has to completely change to become reborn. Sometimes you have to completely die to your life before because like a cocoon it was a place to prepare you. If you stay in the cocoon you will never truly live. To die to your present life is to change into the self you were born to be. Trusting G*d is the hardest thing to do sometimes, but it is the only way to break away and become the Phoenix…” ~ Charlie Moore

It seems like just yesterday my children were splashing in the mud puddles in front of our house on a rainy day. Just a blink of an eye back from there I was a child myself and out for a walk in the rain. It seems like yesterday, yet I live a million miles away from either of those places. Sometimes as slow as time seems to move, it really goes so fast. Time is in a constant state of motion in our lives and so is change.  Change creeps slowly into our lives at times and becomes a choice we make. Other times change crashes in through a window completely out of nowhere and shakes us at our core. This is when change becomes a painful process, slow progress is easy…this on the fly stuff is the hardcore work!

Have you ever had the thought “what else is there to lose?” Then been surprised by the answer when the answer is yes, and it’s the very things you thought were the most secure. It’s the things like the very core of who you are, or at least who you thought you were not fitting anymore. I guess you could describe it like a day when you try on all of the clothes in your closet and nothing fits. You know it’s time to go shopping, but you don’t know where to start because you’re right in-between sizes. This is where the journey starts, the setting fire to our past so we can leave behind the ashes of the person that we are not anymore.

I Greek mythology the Phoenix is a bird that is cyclically regenerated or reborn. I think that at the core of a human life is a Phoenix. Always watching and waiting for us to get a lesson so we can move forward to the next and the next and the next. Life seems to be a never ending cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. My friend Charlie sent me the quote above the other day. I don’t know that he did, but I like to think he wrote it just for me. When I thanked him for the words he told me that I am the greatest Phoenix that he has ever known. I have never thought of myself as having this power, but standing here staring at my past while I’m in the fire I can’t help but remember this has happened before. Sometimes when we look at things that seem brand new they are really all too familiar.  This will not be the first time that I have rebuilt myself from the ground up, and I am sure that it will not be the last.

I know that many of the people that I love the most are in this same place right now. Coming out of a life that doesn’t fit and not knowing what the future holds. Knowing that you can never be again the person that you are in this moment and fearful of the not knowing the person that you are supposed to be. This is the time we have to turn on our faith that we are exactly where we are supposed to be, because if we weren’t we would be somewhere completely different. Just a little tip for the journey, stay in the fire until it consumes you. Let it take every last piece of the illusion that is you, so you can be reborn into the life that you are meant to live. So you can be the Phoenix…..

I AM…

I AM STRONG…..

Sometimes I think I’m too strong for my own good. When I say that now I think of a line I heard on something on TV once. Girl comes in and her Mom asks
“how was your day?” She replies, “I walked through fire and I didn’t get burned.” Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Sometimes I feel like it can’t be the right way, because I see how other people come out of the fire, and the judgment kicks in and I think “there has to be something wrong with me.” After all I just walked through the same fire that you did, and I’m still standing tall. It doesn’t mean that there are not scars, some from wounds I never knew I had. What it means is that thing that I often judge as wrong, or not looking like it should is always there. Just tucked away in my pocket to help me get back up, just at the exact moment when I never thought I’d walk tall again. From here and moving forward I will no longer carry that with shame, from here on out I will wear my strength like the badge of honor that it has always deserved. From now on I will say it with pride, “I AM STRONG.”

I AM GRATEFUL….

I am grateful for all of the things that I have and the things that I don’t have in my life. Quite frankly I’m at one of the don’t have points in my life, but that just means that it’s a chance to have different things because the old ones didn’t suit me anymore. I know what it’s like to get bogged down in the mud, only to get out of it turn a corner and come face to face with your own shadow. I also know what it’s like to get lost in it all. So I choose to be grateful for the mud, grateful for my shadow, and no longer afraid of it. So every day, no matter what life throws at me, and long before I can find the beauty in it, I will breathe in and repeat until I believe it, “I AM GRATEFUL.”

I AM….

I am all of the things that I let you see on the outside, and a million more that I will only let you see as I trust you to handle them with care. I am still learning. It’s like the saying, the more you know the more you find out what you don’t know. Every time I think that I know, a whole new layer pops out at me and shows me that there’s still so much more to learn. I am the caterpillar yesterday and the butterfly today. Yesterday I crawled, and today I can fly.  I am everything you see when you look into my eyes, plus a universe of possibilities that even I can’t comprehend. I am a student, a teacher, a lover and a fighter. I am the light side, the dark side, and all the colors in between. I am everything that I was, and more than I know me to be. I am ready for tomorrow, because I can’t get back yesterday. Most importantly, above all of these other things I know that

I AM……

………ANYTHING I CHOOSE TO BE.

This entry was posted on September 6, 2013. 2 Comments

Tonight I Cried

 

     I won’t lie, I cried tonight. I’m not usually that kind of girl. Something happens and I’ll cry, but I’ll quickly dry the tears, push the issue to the side and step around it. While walking away I’ll think to myself “no worries, I’ll get to it later”. In my case however, later never comes. Then one day I wake up in this pile of stuff that’s almost too big to carry. Somehow after maybe a little bout of anger, or just enough tears that I don’t mess up my makeup I figure out how to rearrange and make room for some more. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy. Some days I walk a little crooked from the weight of it all on my back. So tonight I let some go….tonight I cried.

     I have the book by Iyanla Vanzant called “Today, I Cried”. If I’m being honest here I’ll have to tell you that I have never read the whole book. I’ve never even read past the intro part where she tells the story of the day she cried. That one piece alone has always been all that I thought I needed from that book. Every time that I read it I think “if I could master the art of really crying, not only when I needed to, but sometimes also for the times I needed to and couldn’t, how much less would that big pile of stuff weigh?” There are some things that I preach to others that I have a hard time practicing myself. I tell other people that showing your emotions isn’t weak. That it’s the strongest thing that you can do and in my heart of heart’s I believe that to be true. They say we teach what we need to learn and I’m still learning this one.  

     So…tonight I cried. I cried for all those times I let myself down because I was too afraid to speak my truth. I used to have a favorite saying “speak your truth, even when your voice shakes.” During the time that I repeated it often, I found myself speaking my truth more often. Even during the times that I was the most afraid of speaking. Then someone threw it back in my face as they were telling me something painful after I had spoken my truth. Then after one to many times of holding back my truth I stopped saying it, and then I stopped living it. Some doors and walls cost way too much, so tonight I cried to knock some of them down.

     I cried tonight because I remembered all of the things that I’ve been through lately that had deserved my tears. It kind of felt like I imagine the thirsty earth feels when the damn breaks, like how despite the destruction it causes the water from the flood still feels amazing. Now I don’t expect that tomorrow everything will be all green and beautiful again, but it’s a step in the right direction.

     Part of the time I cried tonight was simply because I was tired of crying, but the anger that came up because I couldn’t seem to control the endless amounts of water that was pouring from my heart just seemed to feed my tears. There even came a point that I just cried in surrender to the tears, and followed them where ever they wanted to go.  It was in that surrender that they finally found a place to stop…..at least for the moment.

     I know I’m not a master yet at the art of navigating my feelings, in fact in some ways I’m still in the beginning class, but they say admitting the problem is half of the fix. Some of it to me means, just because Wonder Woman has the strength of Hercules doesn’t mean she needs to use it to carry all of her troubles around. She does after all carry with her the powers of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. So tonight I cried to remind myself that though I may have mastered some of the other powers, this one still eludes me. The ironic part is that I know it’s the most powerful force in the world. I guess what I’m saying if I had to sum it all up….tonight I cried for love.  

Breathe In…..Breathe Out….

     Breathe in….breathe out. Simple sentence and it seems like it would be an easy one to accomplish, since of course we do have to breathe to live. It’s amazing though how many times a day we forget to breathe. Not the automatic this keeps me alive kind of breathing, but the stopping everything else that we are doing in our crazy hectic lives and breathing. Being grateful for that breath and the next one and the next, it’s a beautiful reminder for all of the moments we’ve forgotten to feel the grace and just be grateful.

     I know what you’re thinking, “she’s written about gratitude before”. You are right I probably have, probably not that long ago. Here’s the thing about my writing, my writing takes me to the lesson that I am seeking in that moment. What may seem like me telling others how to live truly is just me reminding myself of the way that I choose to live my life. I choose to live my life in gratitude, especially in the moments that I am finding it the hardest to have any. So, long story short, I’m writing about gratitude in this moment, because I am working hard to find it.

     I was reading today about this thing that the author Elizabeth Gilbert encourages people to do….the happiness jar. You essentially keep the jar on your desk and at the end of every day, or throughout the day when something happens that makes you happy, you write it down and put it in the jar. Same concept really as a gratitude list, just a little more dramatic……and it makes a nice decoration for your desk. So tonight as all I have is the paper and not the jar I’m going to combine the two and make a happiness list. Not for the day, but for my life, because sometimes you have to dig down past the layer of frustration to find your foundation.

     The Happiness List…..

     I am happy because I have learned that all of the wrong turns that I have made in the past have led me to all the right places. Sometimes I know I have to make six right turns to get me to where one good left could have taken me, but I got to go some amazing place that I would have never seen.

     I am happy for having spent time with every person who has graced my life, both those who stayed forever and those who were only there for what seemed like the briefest of moments.

     I am happy, because I know change only happens when you are ready to handle it. So I know when the winds of change blows my way it’s because I’m at a new level and I’m ready.

     I am happy that I can’t see the future, this allows me to learn to live in the moment. That is why when I can slow down breathe in….breathe out I can get back to this one and it’s the place where we all find the most happiness. This moment, because in this moment everything is just as it should be. I am right where I need to be learning exactly what it is I’m meant to learn.

     Breathe in…..

                            Breath out…..

     

I Can Get Up

 

 

     My favorite speaker Less Brown has a saying “If you fall down make sure you land on your back, because if you can look up you can get up.” I wish I had a good count as to how many times those few words have saved my life. Even during the worst of times when my daughter was a heroin addict and my whole family was coming apart at the seams. There were many mornings that I had to roll over on my back in order to remind myself that I could get up. There have been many days in the last few months that this has been uttered over and over in my head. I have noticed a difference this time though. This time I really knew in my heart that I could get up. This time I believed every word and as I uttered them I felt safe. This time my monkey mind that takes off racing with every imaginable worst case scenario didn’t take over, because I knew the truth in the statement “I can get up!”

     This has been a year for me that I assure you I will never forget. In a different way than one might think. It’s human nature to remember the bad times in our lives, but most people seem to believe it’s because they were the most traumatic. I no longer see it that way. Instead I think I will remember this particular tough time not because it was traumatic, but because why would I ever want to forget the things that have turned me into the woman that I am becoming. It’s kind of like if you get bit by a spider in a lab and become Spider Man….well that’s the kind of life changing thing you will want to remember. In my case it’s the same as becoming Wonder Woman, why would I ever want to forget the things that transpired so that I could claim my new identity?  

     At the end of the day this journey that I’m on has brought me to a place where I am changing every day. I am more grateful now than I have ever been, for both the things and the amazing people that I have in my life. Probably because I understand better than ever before what it is that’s important. I have more peace in my life than I have ever known, and in that peace I’m finding joy. Every day my universe expands and fills the day with better and better possibilities than the day before, and if I should stumble and fall I’ll know there is no reason to worry because I CAN get up!! 

What I Know

  I can’t remember when it happened exactly, that fear took over my life. Most of my earliest memories are of a girl with no fear. I used to catch my uncle’s horse Mona with my hair ribbons and ride her around the field, I think I was four years old. I would climb ladders with my grandpa on his jobs, go shooting with the boys, and I even stole candy with my neighbor once from a church….I had no fear of God.  I don’t remember ever meeting a stranger that I didn’t think a friend, except maybe the preacher from the church I stole from when I got caught. Then one day I was afraid of everything. It’s like I woke up one day from a bad dream that came true.

     I no longer liked ladders and high places, when once I thought I was the queen of the world when I was up higher than everyone else. I was afraid of people, and I was suddenly for the first time afraid of God. That’s when I started learning to be invisible. If I was really quiet I thought maybe no one would notice me. Unfortunately that’s not the way that life works. Sooner or later you’re expected to leave the house and have to deal with others, and sooner or later someone’s going to see you. Unfortunately for me I was “seen” way more often than I would have liked. This is why I learned to be the invisible woman. I was invisible in my relationships, invisible in my family, and sometimes so quiet with friends that I might as well have been invisible, or at least I thought I was.

     The real problem was I was invisible to myself. I was defined by who was near me at the time, and I had no idea who I was. I always loved the part in the movie Runaway Bride where Julia Roberts’s character tried every kind of egg that you could make so that she could figure out what she liked. It didn’t matter who she was with or how they liked their eggs, she had always adjusted what she liked to what they liked. I could always identify with her character in that movie, always running and not sure why or from what….just running.

     Some might say I grew up in a fairytale land, maybe that’s where my fetish for fairytales come from. I wonder sometimes if maybe it was when I peaked around the corner at the rest of the world, if that’s when it happened. The minute I stepped outside of the sheltered little world that I grew up in, I think there was some innocence lost. I spent a lot of years living my life as the Invisible Woman. Not just being unseen, but never really seeing anyone else either. I’d let people see me occasionally, but rarely all of me. Sometimes that’s still a tough one for me. To be able to just let it all out and say “this is me”!   

     BUT…..

Here’s what I know….

     I know that I get better and better all the time. I know that every time I feel like I can’t do something, that’s the thing I know I have to do. I know when I’m most tempted to be invisible is when it’s most important to be seen. I know that the road is long, and windy but if you really want to get somewhere you’ll get there. I know that I’m not ready for skydiving, but I think I’d try a hot air balloon. I know that life is not worth fearing, because time wasted on fear is time missing out on how beautiful the world really is.   

Looking For Love

          Love is abundant, but our experiences of it are sometimes rare ~ Gary Zukov. I just read those words, it’s amazing how when truth strikes you, you just feel it. I wonder sometimes how many people spend their days wandering the earth and never see anything except the pain of it. Could this be the reason that suicide rates are so high in the world today? Not only suicide rates, but depression, drug abuse (both legal and illegal), makes me wonder what would happen if people were taught to look inside any situation and find the love in it. I think this should be one of the earliest lessons for our children to learn. Can you imagine a society full of people who really did look for the sunny side of their sadness? The Dalai Lhama says If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry. When we are worried and can’t see the love in a situation, then we suffer. If we find the love in a situation then we can stay in the moment, and in the moment we find that everything is ok, just as it is.

     I know that preaching things and living them are two different things, and I don’t want you to get the idea that I don’t ever feel pain, sadness, anger or get just a little depressed. I do, but that’s part of the human experience. There’s a saying out there that says it pretty good…

Unnamed woman’s autobiography…she wrote 4 short chapters.

Chapter 1 – Went walking down a street – there was a hole; I fell in. Struggled to climb out. Not my fault.

Chapter 2 – Went walking down same street – there was a hole; I fell in. Struggled to climb out. My fault.

Chapter 3 – Went walking down same street – walked around the hole.

Chapter 4 – Went down a different street.

     I think that sums up life pretty good, we all get hit by things we didn’t expect. That’s when it’s not our fault, we didn’t know it was coming. We react with anger, sadness, loss and depression. We lose sight of anything beautiful, or spectacular in the world around us. We put on blinders that we choose to wear every day and see the world only in shades of grey. Never getting to see the rainbows right in front of us that were put there just for us to see. What so many people in the world forget to realize is that we have a choice to continue to walk down that same road and fall in that same hole every day. I know it’s not easy, I’ve done my time in purgatory. At the end of the day I find comfort in knowing that I have a choice what street I walk down today. There are days I choose the shades of grey, because a rainbow would just piss me off more than I could stand. However, the majority of my days I choose to walk in the sunshine and find the love that passed through my life today.

     Tonight I leave you with a question to think about….what would change in your world tomorrow if you spent just that one day looking for the love in your life instead of looking for the loss? I’m not talking about the little moments that we can all find gratitude in every day. What I’m talking about is those life changing moments when you know that life will never be the same from here on out. Can you look at those moments with a microscope and not only find the gratitude, but find the love? Can you find the love of your friends, loved ones, strangers and sometimes your community at large…can you find the love of God? Can you find love for yourself? These days I walk my talk, some days it might take me longer than others to find it, but I always find the love in my days.

 

The Gifts

 

     I don’t know if you are someone that believes that every person that comes into your life is there for a reason, but I am. Sometimes we change them, sometimes they change us and sometimes we change each other. I am always and forever grateful for all of the teachers that have walked through my life, even when the lessons that they taught me weren’t pleasant. Sometimes those that walk quickly through our lives are the ones that have the biggest impact. One such person is the father of my first child. We had the briefest of romances 23 years ago, and even at the time I knew it was a gift to me.

     We had known each other in high school, but we were anything but friends. I was friends with his brother and his sister, but Michael and I never had much use for one another. After he graduated he moved away and I didn’t see him for a couple of years. When he made his way back into town he came to see me after my brother had died, they were friends. We hit it off at the time because most of my friends really didn’t get me at the time, I was lost in grief and they didn’t want to go there with me. Michael understood where I was at the time as he had lost his mother when he was I think 16. The next thing you know we were together all the time. Then with the blink of an eye I was pregnant and with another he was gone. This set me on the course known as single motherhood. My parents thought the best solution was to make him marry me, but somehow I knew even at the ripe old age of 18 that marrying someone only for a child was the wrong thing to do.

     Life can always be beautiful if we are willing to look at the bad things that seem to be happening and find the gifts inside. Even then without knowing it consciously I did this with the situation, because I know I never saw my beautiful daughter as anything other than a gift in my life. A child lights up your life from the moment you hear that first heartbeat. It’s something that you can’t understand if you’ve never experienced it. I’m not going to tell you that life was always pleasant or that I have always looked back on the challenges in my life in the way I do now, as blessings. These are all things that come to everyone in time. Even if someone doesn’t figure it out until they are transitioning from this life, I believe everyone sooner or later realizes that life is always beautiful. I know I make that statement “life is always beautiful” a lot in my blogs. Sometimes this even leads people to believe that I am terminally happy, it doesn’t mean that at all. I think I just see life with a lot more gray than just black and white. The gifts of parenthood have certainly been challenging to see sometimes. I have been blessed with not just one but two amazing daughters and I wouldn’t trade the gifts that they have brought me for any amount of gold.

      My daughter’s dad came back into our lives in 1996 when Ashton was four years old. He was at best what you would call an on and off dad, but I do believe he did the best he could with what he had to work with. When people pass from this world we have a tendency of playing through our minds all of the things “that could have been, if only”. One of the hardest things to deal with when someone goes before us is this type of thinking. What we really should be focused on is all of the things that really were. The good, the bad and the ugly, so that we remember things as they really were and don’t get lost in what might have been. Most importantly when someone leaves this world be grateful for their contribution to your life. In the spirit of that thought I would like to take a moment and say thank you Michael for the gifts that you brought into my life. Your friendship when I needed it and our beautiful daughter when I was ready to be a Mom.

RIP Michael Scott Beatty…..fly with the angels my friend.  

I Want

     Have you ever spent a lot of time pondering the question what now? I seem to swim in that question lately. I have so many directions I could take right now and I feel like I’m starting to spin in circles trying to figure out which way to go. The worst part is there are a couple of roads that I know I don’t want to take and yet some days even they look tempting. They are of course the roads that lead to the greener pastures we all talk about. While the others are rockier and don’t appear to be that scenic, but I hear at the end of one of those roads is the Garden of Eden. These of course are not the roads for the faint of heart. When one embarks on a journey down one of the rocky roads they have to be prepared for the bumps that go along with it. Before I can possibly make a choice as to which direction to go, I think I need to get really clear on the things that I want in my life. So my question at the moment is simply ….what do I really want?

     *I Want…..to do something every day that not only changes my world for the better, but someone else’s.

     *I Want……to write, which I get to do here and I am so grateful for things like blogging, but I think I want to write a book.

     *I Want…..to let go of guilt. I’m running around in the middle of a self- inflicted guilt trip now and this will be the last one!

     *I Want…..to be able to share my gifts with the world in some way that makes it a better place.

     *I Want…..to surround myself with others who have integrity in every aspect of their lives. Not just the easy ones.

     *I Want…..to always know my own heart. I know my heart never betrays me, but sometimes I betray it.

     *I Want…..to find as much joy as I can from life, even when dealing with the things that cause anger, hurt and sadness.

     *I Want…..to continue to find love in as many things throughout the day as possible….even the anger, hurt and sadness.

     *I Want…..to always have time in the day to just breathe and speak my gratitude for all of the gifts in my life, and those that are yet to be delivered.

     *I Want…..all of this or something better!

     I’m sure there will be more things that come to mind now that I’m thinking about things on a deeper level. Although I think the core, the most important parts of what I want are all on the list above. I’m learning lots of lessons lately about what’s important and what’s not so I know that list is hundreds of miles off course from where it would have been just 6 months ago. I love how quickly things can change when you’re paying attention to the details. All in all I wouldn’t change a moment of my recent experiences. The road has been pretty rocky some days, but the treasures hidden along the way…well I wouldn’t trade those for all of the greener pastures I know are out there. 

If Today Were the Last Day of My Life

 I’m watching TV tonight, anyone who knows me knows that this is a rare occasion. I’m finding myself amazed at all of the competition shows they have on now. Listening to everyone talk about chasing their dreams reminded me of a quote I saw today. In this quote Steve Jobs posed the question “if today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am going to do today?” Not sure exactly what brought that particular quote into my mind. Maybe it was watching all of the people going into the auditions with the excitement on their faces because they were out chasing their dreams (no matter how strange) and finding their bliss. Wouldn’t the world just be a better place if we all just chased our bliss. I’m not even sure if the Snow White, lets love everyone side of me can truly imagine that world. People doing what they love, what lights them up, that one thing that gets them up and excited for their day.  

     Most people are so guided through their lives that by the time they realize there were other possibilities they’ve lived half their lives already. To afraid to step forward and go find a life they love, most people stay frozen in place. Most people by that time can’t even remember what dreams they had or in some cases if they ever had any at all. It’s a rare few that ever find their way out into the world and actually live their bliss. That’s what I want to be when I grow up, living my bliss, and when someone asks me what I do for a living that’s what I want my answer to be. Just living my bliss. Like the guy at the airport handing out free hugs. I’m sure that wasn’t his parents highest vision of what their son should become, that’s something that has to come from somewhere inside. I applaud him for living his bliss, no matter how strange.  

     So when you hear the question “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”  What’s your answer? Do you have one? Do you remember your dreams and the things that light you up, or are they so far away you can’t even see them anymore? If you could dream a new dream what would it be, and could you find the strength to work towards it every day…no matter how small the effort may seem? What would it take to get you to throw the handful of glitter in the air and live everyday like it was your last and you wanted to do what you are going to do today? Me….well I think I’ll even change my Facebook status to show I’m employed as Wonder Woman, then when you ask me what I do for a living, I can say…..just living my bliss.