July 26, 2014 § 2 Comments
My son suffers from what is called, atypical migraines. This being a side effect he endures from a year and half of chemotherapy. Even early on, after having his first bout, we both agreed that he is blessed. The list of possible side effects given to me prior to his surgery and treatment was so lengthy, even with something as debilitating as migraines are, he is blessed to have so few residuals from his time spent with cancer.
Life provides us the tools we need to grow in various ways. They do not always come by way of religious text or even spiritual text. Some of our most important catalysts for expansion come by way of every day things. My son’s atypical migraines are no exception. They have been a pivotal learning point for him as well as me.
Many of you already know I used to speak publicly on the subject of raising confident children. It is what sits at the heart of my children’s chapter book series and it sits at the core of how I parent. But it wasn’t always that way. There was a pivotal point in my life that caused me to change how I view everything, both inward and outward. Whereas I used to believe I was on this earth solely to bring my children into this world and tend to them while here, certain spiritual events occurred that revealed the error of my perception. The souls housed within my children had chosen me as their guide. Their souls were not concerned with the level of wealth I could drape upon them. Nor were their souls concerned with the ease of living I could provide. The soul never cares about such things. There is a line in my favorite poem by Kahlil Gibran that reads: You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. And that is what their souls wanted from me.
I’m not afraid to admit dear reader, that prior to this vital time in my life I was blind to my own ways. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t empowered. Both due to my own choices. And that unfulfilled bow was the launching point from which the arrows that are my children flew. Everything changed for me once my awareness shifted. Everything. I began empowering myself, thereby empowering them. One moment in particular displays this shift in clarity. My son was driving back from college with his sister in tow. He called home. An atypical migraine was descending upon him. He didn’t know what to do. And everything in me wanted to scoop him under my wing and drive him home. For those who don’t know, atypical migraines involve having a temporary, pixelated impairment to one eye, among other things. What I did next would either disable him or enable him. Instead of dropping the bow, I held it steady and guided him on how to do it on his own. The plan: Don’t panic. Compensate for the visual disturbance. Go slow. And if it becomes dangerous, I’ll come get you.
I sat for the next hour with tears in my eyes and breath suspended in my chest. I knew he was being given the chance to experience for himself his own strength. I could not make the moment about me and mine. The moment was about him and his. So I did as I knew I was suppose to do, I steadily launched the arrow, and waited.
He made it home safe, and I exhaled. But now, so many years later he knows his own power. A truth he would not own if I had taken it from him. When the effects of a migraine descend upon him he knows he’ll be alright. Like a small child who falls for the first time then looks at their parent for the appropriate response my son looked to me. What my response was then, is his response now. Don’t panic. You can do this. You’ll be alright. And yesterday, my very typical college son who works a meager paying job for summer employment did not call in to work when he awoke with an atypical migraine, he texted me instead and said: I can do this. I’ll be alright.
I don’t believe parenting is so difficult. But parenting well is. Often it has required a level of strength within me I wasn’t sure I had. That’s how I know these catalysts were meant for me, as well. I’m blessed to be launching these two souls. I make many mistakes along the way, but I know they bring to the world their joy, strength and depth. And I hope my bow is what gets them there.
July 24, 2014 § Leave a comment
People are sometimes taken back by my comedic nature. As a novelist and spiritual writer, it must seem unfitting that my knee jerk reaction to daily life would be humor. Since my earliest memories though, laughter has been my counter balance. And as much as I was given a heavily weighted upbringing by my father, I’ve come to understand that he also gave me his counter weight – laughter.
My father could make me laugh like no other. He was a beautiful, but tortured being. But oh how his soul liked to laugh. Mine too. And that’s how I look at it, my soul likes to laugh. Even the bible teaches that joy is the presence of God. Like love, joy is one of the purest vibrations connecting us to Source.
There have been times in my life when a smile would not emerge upon my face. Devastating moments in my journey. During those times my cork was pulled under. And that is exactly where I had to be at that time. But eventually my cork rose, and when it did, I was peppering my soulful world with the potent energy of joy. On days when I am feeling stagnant and glum I seek out joy. On days when it comes naturally, I dole it out to others. All phases of being have purpose, but I always know I’m my most centered when feeling these two energies. One sits at the right hand of God, the other to the left.
And if there is any truth behind the draw of vibrational energy then it is no surprise to me that those to whom I’m closest all possess a clever sense of humor. And, one of the sexiest attributes a man can have is a smart comedic sense. But there is more to it than that. When we operate from a place of joy or love, we are operating on a higher level. Those higher levels open doors that can’t be opened when we are functioning from a place of fear or doubt. I feel we are always connected to Source. How can we not be? We are always a part of that from which we came. It’s just one is constricted and one is open.
My life unfolds more to my liking when I’m coming from a place of love. There are times when people question how it is I can offer love to those who seem undeserving. That’s easy – I’m deserving. On a soul level the word deserve doesn’t exist, at least not from a punitive standpoint. But overall, I’m deserving of the powerful effects that can only be felt from these two energies. I’m deserving of keeping my conduit strong, and the manifestations that seem to come out of thin air when I’m positioned on that particular pathway. I believe the better it gets, the better it gets. As always there will be times when life lessons, catalysts or fated pressures are brought my way. And they may very well pull me under. But that’s okay. I won’t deny the necessity of those moments. But at least the positive people and experiences that I’ve drawn to myself during the good times will help sustain me during the hard times.
I hope you think about your joy. If you don’t feel it, seek it out. Create within yourself the new default position of operating from these two places. You may have to reach a little further to get there. It doesn’t always come easy. But in time, it will become your natural path. It will be the place to which you return once you’ve dealt with the blows of life. I give thanks for all those who have infused my life with their love and joy. And I give thanks to my father who taught me the potency of laughter. Where fear closes the conduit, joy opens. So kick your head back, let out some laughter, and let the good stuff in.
July 23, 2014 § Leave a comment
Looking for perfection in life or love, is futile, as far as I’m concerned. What matters to me isn’t whether things are perfect, what matters is that things are becoming whole and complete. Wholeness is when we have finally arrived at the place within ourselves when our pendulum doesn’t swing so much. This can only happen with balance. And balance requires a level foundation.
I remember when I looked at the foundation of who I was. I saw holes. I grew up within a family dynamic that left gaping holes and obstacles over which I had to continually leap. I have many good memories of my youth. Yet, even during the good times, there was a knowing that was ever-present within me. I knew that at any moment those good times would end. The floor would open or a curve ball would come our way. Long after becoming an adult, I continued to build a similar road, as it was the only road I’d ever known. Instead of my father laying the bricks, each was put into place by me. It took a long time for me to see and understand this. Even more time was required before I found the courage and wherewithal to take ownership of my own journey.
Numerous catalysts have been brought my way. I know now that each was brought by the hand of God, with hopes of causing me to work on those things within me that needed attention. I had to step back and lift pieces of concrete that I’d stood upon for decades. Even though cracked and slanted, they were familiar. I was skilled at standing askew. We adjust to our own dysfunction over time. We learn to squint through a shaded lens and we choreograph our world so that it dances around our pain. It takes courage to rebuild. But I can assure you this, you will never regret having done so. Nothing is worse than being held prisoner within yourself when you are not whole. Sleeping next to your pain center, is a tragic thing.
I’ve come a long way since lifting that first broken part of myself. It gets easier as one moves along. And the only person I’m aiming to please is me. I own every flaw and quirk, every stroke of brilliance and every wry joke that sits at the end of an otherwise profound statement. I decided I liked these things about myself so instead of pitching them I chose to keep them. Starting anew does not mean one must replace everything. It means that you take the time to fix what’s broken, heal and let go of what no longer serves, and bring to light those parts of yourself that delight you. I display my soft, philosophical side right alongside that of my mischievous humor. Even some of my most broken pieces of foundation from my youth have been kept by me. I healed them. Then returned them to their place. What was once part of a pain center is now part of what heals. It was up to me how I wanted to rebuild. I decided to find beauty in some of my most vulnerable areas; areas that may seem like flaws to some. When someone looks into my eyes or reads my words though, these truths are what shine through. I won’t ever get it done. And that is fine with me. I just like that every time I turn around I see this motley mix of a construction that offers the best of me.
Dear reader, think about your foundation. Think about all that rests inside of you, and what represents you. Think about what it is you stand upon each and every day. It is your house, your foundation and your walls, after all. As for me, my home has a few cozy nooks in which I like to curl. But for the most part, it has large open windows that allow for an unencumbered view. And I like it that way.
Do not get defeated if the process takes time. Because it will. You aren’t pitching a tent. You are building a fortress and that fortress is you. Go for structural integrity this time.
July 21, 2014 § Leave a comment
It was about this time, nine years ago, that my son was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. It was ten years ago, around this time, that I almost lost my life. This time of year brings about a certain soft reflection in me – as it should. There have been many moments that have changed my life, but those two were paramount. I feel it’s only right to acknowledge what those moments were meant to instill in me by honoring them with remembrance. I am blessed. I’ve been through some very deep dips in the road. Yet, those moments have brought me to where I am. And there is no place I’d rather be: A blessed soul who knows her purpose. I am happy. I am centered. And for the moment, I’m allowing myself to look back.
With that, I’m rereading some of my words. Although I’m not positive as to why, the post A Ship Named Samantha stood out. So, I’m sharing it with you again. Every one of you that makes up the thousands that read my posts, spanning from continent to continent, is treasured by me. If only I could get a glimpse of you. But, I am pleased just knowing my words are allowed to dust across your mind. And quite honestly, that’s good enough for me.
July 17, 2012
It is my deepest belief that everyone should live without love, only so that when they do have it – they never let it go. But then again, that goes for most things in life.
I’ve been paying careful attention to human behavior as of late. And for the life of me I can’t figure out why certain people behave the way they do. I look at my life – my journey – as a ship. My mind controls the rudder that’s plunged deep below, but all of my outward movements control the sails. When the winds blow hard, I have to adjust.
I don’t know why I find myself sailing upon glass-topped waters one day, only to battle the unmerciful sea the next. But either way, I need to stay afloat. And all the while, I’m careful of my actions. Gratitude and appreciation mark the bow of my ship. As I move forward I do so knowing how life feels during the worst of times; knowledge that regardless of how painful it was to acquire, I am blessed now to own. As it’s knowledge that not only has shaped me, it has shaped my perception.
I feel one doesn’t know the unspeakable pleasure of satiety without having first been staggeringly hungry. My life has flopped between extremes in every area. I can’t say I want to relive any of the undesirable times that I have endured, but I also never try to completely leave them in the past either. Instead, I take them with me, but with gratitude each time I am blessed with that, which I do desire.
I grew up in a home that upon appearances was quite complacent, yet all the while behind the walls of my youth I knew only volatility and erratic mood swings. I’ve known the vacuous, hollowness of financial collapse and I’ve known how it feels to lose the one you love. I know what it feels like to sit and make deals with God to save one’s child, and I know what it feels like to watch one’s dreams float away like dandelion pollen in the springtime breeze.
I think everyone should have to spread coins across their bed and count the change, hoping they have enough. Because those moments give depth and substance for when they do finally ‘have enough.’ I also think if love came easy, then we would never have cause to fight for it, nor would we be so moved to protect it and cherish it once it was ours.
I’ve been the recipient of quite a few miracles in my life. I often sit alone, and think only of those miracles; picturing them within my mind; feeling them once again; giving thanks for them again.
It may sound incredibly silly to some, but almost every time I park my trusty Wrangler in my garage, I silently give thanks as I run my hand across its broad fender. Because you see, there was a time when I had nothing, and was given an orange Volkswagen Rabbit resurrected from the neighbor’s field. I was young, and grateful that I could once again get to where I needed to go. Had I not been without, and then given a car, albeit inhabited by mice, I wouldn’t appreciate, on the same level, the wonderful cars I’ve had since. The same goes for love and health and friendship and all those things we so often take for granted. Wherever I go in this life, I don’t take anything for granted. I can’t imagine why anyone would ever do otherwise.
July 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
When it comes to to this thing called living, may I offer an analogy: We view life through a lens. Keep it crystal clear, and readjust the focus as necessary.
That sounds so simple. But often the most important principles in life are, indeed, simple. We overwork, over analyze the way in which we perceive life. Yet, the fundamentals should be quite straight forward.
If not maintained, the lens through which you view your world becomes clouded from past experiences. And if you’ve allowed your soul to grow, the lens of ten years ago may not, and should not, be the correct focus for today. Due to such, stop holding yourself accountable to a lens that no longer serves you. Stop squinting to see clearly what made sense then, but no longer makes sense to a soul that has outgrown such beliefs. Beliefs are not meant to be static. We are meant to outgrow the perimeters we built in our youth. You would not expect a developing nation to remain fixed within the structures it built during its earlier stages. Yet, so often this is what we expect from ourselves. Tear down your walls once you notice you are continually bumping up against them. And oh dear reader, I do hope you are bumping up against them, and not away from them. The seed did not come forth to shirk into the soil. It came forth to push through. The same is true for you.
Take stock of these things. You need not share any of your findings with anyone. But do share it with you. You can only deceive yourself for so long. Every day we create new truths within ourselves. Own them as you move along. Don’t feel because you saw the world a certain way, once, means that you are tied to seeing it that way for a lifetime. You wouldn’t expect that of a child in school. Quite the opposite. In fact, you look at those that don’t move up the academic ladder at a steady pace as lacking. Yet, spiritually we often do the same.
Unresolved issues are like smudges that prohibit a clear view. It is your job, and no one else’s, to wipe the lens clean. Unhealed pains are like scratches that make it impossible to see with clarity due to distortion. You were not intended to view your world through the smudges and scratches of your past. Those moments were meant to change you, not prohibit and distort your view.
So, as we head into a new week I ask that you step back from your perception point, and come to the understanding that you were meant to reach for a new lens along the way. It may require that you reach further. But in time that new reach will become the familiar reach. Then, just as the seed pushes higher towards the sun, and the city requires that it broaden its territory, you too will once again feel the push to readjust. All of this takes work. But what is your other option. I do not want to see the new possibilities life offers me through the haze and damage of my past. My past caused the growth that forced me to reach for a newer, vibrantly clear lens. Life will bring new, wonderful people, experiences and things to your doorstep. It’s up to you how you view each of them. Once they arrive, dear reader, you owe it to the force that is Love and Life to see these gifts clearly. Most importantly, you owe it to you.
July 15, 2014 § 6 Comments
I’m far from a love guru. And if my past marriage serves as any indication, I’m either quite bad at picking out a partner or being a partner. I can no longer tell which. But I’m hoping not the latter. But now, perhaps due to being so removed from love, I can see it with more objectivity. In doing so, I feel one of the most important aspects to a successful union is having compatible faults.
One’s faults are just as valid as one’s strengths. We tend to fall in love with someone due to their strengths, then hate them later for their faults. Yet both were present at the beginning; the one just hidden under the glow of new-found love. In time, once the dust has settled, the other’s faults seem to sprout like tulips on a warm spring day. Truth is, they were there all along.
Oddly enough, faults aren’t the proverbial noose that’s forever dangling, ready to strangle the relationship. In fact, I feel, there’s as much balance to be found within our faults as there is within our strengths. The trick is finding harmony. Even the best band sounds a bit shoddy if the other instruments aren’t there for one another to bounce off of. The sounds need to mingle, using one another as a platform. Maybe for a brief moment, but rarely do two lead singers put on a good long-running show; just as a drummer rarely looks for another drummer when forming a band. I could be completely wrong, but I think relationships, both romantic and not, work much in the same way.
Using this metaphor, I would have to say that I’m very much like the drums. I’m steady, and provide for most, a very secure foundation where they’re free to express themselves; be themselves. Yet, all the while, my voice is always heard, my intent and driving force, always felt. And like the sound of the first hit against the bass drum at a concert, I tend to cause action; rallying the troops even when not meaning to. But nothing sounds better than when the sound of the bass guitar saddles alongside that of the drums, creating a rhythm that moves people without their deliberate thought. And once the guitar is allowed to fill the air, the drums can move from merely providing a beat, to expanding into varying forms of percussion; offering an explosion of sound. Within one another’s weaker areas, the other brings fullness and balance. The best musicians know when to enter into the song and when to pull back. It’s in that flux that the most astounding music is created. It’s in that same flux that the best unions are formed.
So when it comes time to look for, or allow in, a partner – never turn a blind eye to the things they themselves are trying to ignore or trying to downplay. Because, dear reader, often hidden under their charm, their beauty and their lure, is the very thing that will one day cause the two of you to make beautiful music.
Written to Young the Giant’s: Mind Over Matter
July 9, 2014 § 6 Comments
A friend mentioned recently that like Elsa in the Disney movie, Frozen, we all need to let it go. I thought about that for a moment, and the context with which she was speaking, then said, “Elsa didn’t let go, she ran away. Then she lived in isolation, trapped by that from which she was running. As a result, all hell broke loose.” But I do understand what my friend meant, and I agree. Let go, but don’t run away.
We all have hurts. We all have suffered certain trauma; some big, some small. Unless dealt with, these hurts leave their mark within our being. We create within ourselves a pain center. Then, everything that unfolds in our life, the good and the bad, the blessings and the woes, all meet up against this pain center.
And as our life plays out, it does so viewed, felt and processed through this unhealed part of our self. And it doesn’t matter how much we may want for ourselves, unless tended to, everything that comes our way will be affected by our pain. Our authentic self sits behind this center, our psyche before it. Our children are raised with the influences of this pain center. Our work, our social interactions, everything is impacted by what is inside of us. As you can imagine, my pain center was deep and wide. I had enough unresolved issues within me to provide fodder for my own behavioral health study. I had my dark night of the soul, though. During that walk through the darkness within I battled my inner dragons. By that time they were dragons, larger than life. Actually, they had become my life. My soul turned my awareness though, and demanded that I see with eyes wide open. It was then that I began the process of confronting, healing and letting go. Just like breathing, just like logging days on the calendar, it’s a continual thing. But they aren’t dragons when released early; they aren’t given time to become obstacles. I did and still am doing the work. And so can you. If you are reading my words, I have to believe, you already are.
We are the ones who understand that running away means running from our heart, not from that which pains us. Our pain center goes with us wherever we go. It can and will stand between us and all that we want for ourselves. But have you realized, dear reader, that your pain center is one of the main reasons why you are here? It is what you are here to work through. Look at your hurts, see the theme. I want you to see how the events that caused these hurts all consist of similar nuances. They are connected. Your soul has brought these events before you, so you would overcome them, not so they would overcome you.
Please, dear reader, heal your pain center, don’t let it block you. Heal it, then let it go.