Monthly Archives: December 2013

Gifting

If I could give you one gift this Christmas, it would be to strengthen you so that you never give up on your dreams. I would keep your resolve deep and strong, so that you never grow weak and set aside your desires.

All I can give you are my words, however. So please pull from these simple sentiments the strength you need to realize there is room in this world for you to flourish; there is room for you to assist others while assisting yourself. Please know this post comes from a very tender place within me; as setting myself and my desires aside is something I so often do. It is times like these when I’m alone, when my gaze shifts onto the snow as it cascades slowly from the sky, when my music plays softly in the background, and the voice of God whispers unfettered into my ear, that I listen with the most clarity.

There is nothing more challenging to me, than giving unto myself. I love to watch those around me flourish. I love to watch their soul burst free like a seedling pushing toward the sun. In a large part, that is why I feel I am here – to be that oak upon which others lean, to be that safe harbor from the storm; to be somewhere soft upon which to land. And then I sit alone, watching the snow. I smile inside, while a tear cascades down my face. And the voice whispers into my ear, “You, dear child, need these things too. Find your oak, find your lighthouse, find a soft place to rest.”

This Christmas, dear reader, I ask that you find these things too. Reach far. Reach deep. Go where you’ve never gone before. Never forget that if  you have a dream within you, it has purpose. It would not have been conjured otherwise. And it would not be infused with that stirring feeling if the Universe wasn’t there backing your desire. Go, and give this gift to yourself. You are not taking from anyone, when you give unto yourself in this way. If anything, you will teach, and therefore help, by example. Give yourself those things that empower you. Then you can help empower the world. Give to yourself that which fills you with joy. Just because these things have not manifested or easily fallen into place does not mean they are not real. They are real by virtue of being within you. It all starts within. It all starts with a stirring. Creation starts with a simple thought. Then you cause it to grow by your desire, dedication and action.

Never let go of your dreams. They are the gift you give yourself.

Merry Christmas, dear reader, Merry Christmas.

Sane

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Joy

Joy

If you read my words from my previous post, you might smile when I tell you that the Universe brought into my life someone owning one of those tiny, perfect, Christmas villages – an elaborate one at that. God did that.

It seems my life, beyond even my own desires and inclinations, is a study; something beyond me is routinely prodding and aligning me with the information necessary to learn more about this thing we call life and those living it – including me. I consider this to be one of the most magical aspects of my journey. I have watched many a miracle unfold. I have uttered a tender plea in the morning, released it from my being, then watched it get answered later in the day. I have come to know and believe in this connection between me and God. More accurately, I’ve come to understand that we are one.

At times you may feel as if God is some far-off, abstract idea. Surely not a presence in your life, none alone, an energy contained within. There are days when I feel the same. Then I stop. I remind myself of all that I already know. I sit and focus on the miracles, and the beautiful confirmations that have been sent my way. I reconnect the threads of energy within me, and after doing so, they offer once again a strong conduit of pure positive flowing energy – joy. Our mind is not simply a mechanism that causes our body to function. Science has been able to map what happens within this fascinating organ. And that imaging has shown how the brain responds depending upon where we place our focus. It has also shown how when we focus on the negative, areas in the brain close down. This closing down then begins a ripple effect that triggers other emotional and physical responses. Thus is true in reverse. When we focus upon the positive, areas of the brain light up. Hormones that cause us to push forward are released and those blissful chemicals that cause us to feel good are sent throughout. This is all controlled by our focus.

This tells me that we were designed to feel good. It is ironic then, to me, that there are those who choose to live a life stifled of joy and pleasure due to a belief that they are honoring God, family or society. If anything, I feel, doing so is a blasphemy to God. If by design we are meant to live in joy, then why would this same designer force us to live a life without.

So focus on your joy. There is God energy in that action. God lives and breathes in full abundance within you, when you are in a state of joy. It is through focusing on what feels good that we get to feel the full connection to this beautiful energy that’s been there all along, waiting for us to give it our attention. If reading religious texts brings you joy, then read on. If holding the hand of your partner, fills you with warmth, then reach out, and take their hand. If painting, singing, dancing, cooking, causes you to smile, then carve out the time to bring these things into your life. Doing so is time spent with God, in my opinion. Give this to yourself. Give it to your body. Give it to your life. Although I can not speak for, All That Is, I feel its safe to say we were designed to live a life of joy. Find your joy. And focus on it.

Sane

Picture Perfect

Christmas will soon be here. Before long children who have plenty will be getting more. And many children who, despite being good all year, just as Santa required of them, will get little. I don’t much care for the myth of Santa Claus. I feel this holiday, that sits right after winter solstice, should be a time of remembrance, a time of gratefulness, a time of giving to those beyond one’s own. Even I have had to look at my own life, and realize I was not teaching my children these things.

Some of us fall into this by way of getting caught up in the flurry of marketing, or keeping up with the Jones’s. Some of us fall prey to it by way of guilt, due to upheaval that we feel convinced has robbed our children of the Normal Rockwell life with which we’d hoped to provide them. My life has never fit the one’s so perfectly represented in those paintings; never has, even when young. The dissonance between my life and those representing the norm in movies, cards and in the media, always filled me with sadness. And in time I came to loathe the little Christmas villages people would set up in their homes. I didn’t like the perfection, as it was surely nothing I’d ever known. I wanted to know it, though.

Through years of study, I’ve come to realize that we often cling to or turn away from, that which we don’t have. For a moment in time we want to control our world. And if we can’t control it as a whole, we will for a few days, or by arranging beautiful little houses, cathedrals and people who sit upon glass on a table in our home. And that’s okay. We all need our moments. We all need our own personal mechanisms. I do wish though, that we as a collective whole, put as much effort into trying to create a perfect world. That we expanded our reach so that it touched not just our own, but those who have no one. I’m quite certain that is how Jesus would have approached the celebration of Christmas. I think he would have taken the gifts given to him, and handed them to another. There is perfection in that act.

Due to such, a few days ago, I told both my children that I had failed to teach them the most important  aspect of the Christmas celebration – giving. Giving not money, but the gift of their time, effort and compassion towards another. So with that, the biggest part of Christmas for us this year, will be giving of ourselves to the local Humane Society.

I’m the kind that would much rather celebrate winter solstice. I like that its untouched by the masses. And yet, it’s when nature says, “It is time to shift. It is time for us to move in another direction.” We all need to stop, take notice of where we are, what we are doing, what we are teaching and what we are giving – then shift in a new direction. So as we slowly creep away from darkness, and back toward longer days of full light, I’m also shifting into teaching my children one of the most important life lesson’s one can teach their child – give of yourself – when you do, you give back to you; you give back to the world. And something about that, represents the picture perfect Christmas to me.

Sane

The Way Forward

TheWayForwardCover

 

For those who are interested, the compilation blog post book entitled, The Way Forward, is now available. Just click the cover image above, or along the sidebar. You may also search for it online at, Amazon; which was chosen for its speed of availability.

The photos contained within are from my personal collection. And as you know, the words written inside, are those of my own. I hope you enjoy it.

Love to you ~ S.

Coming Out

ComingOutRecently, I was having a discussion with someone regarding my memoir. After going over contractual details, this person asked, “Are you sure you want to do this? Are you sure you want to open your life up to so many?” I replied, “I have nothing to hide. When I look inside myself, I love what I see.  I may not always like what I see. But I accept all of it. It took a long hard road of discovery for me to own who I am. I’m not ashamed. And I want to help others feel the same.”

There is no shame in who you are; whatever that may be. You may look down at the road you’ve walked and see it riddle with holes, cracks, missteps and obstacles. As you look back you may cringe at what you see. Don’t. There’s no need. Own what you see. Own each and every misstep. I believe peace, empowerment and freedom are found when we own who we are; when we no longer criticize ourselves; when instead of doubting ourselves and our worth, we see our beauty and value. So, look within. When you do, don’t turn away. Don’t gloss over or camouflage the discoveries you’ll make. Chances are, you grew the most from your weakest, worst moments.

Change the lens through which you view yourself. There are times even now when I sit in confusion regarding what it is I am feeling, about the moment that has presented itself in my life. I feel no shame in that. I could gloss over it. I could say that I am always at my best; that my life has been one, bright, shining moment. Would that make me appear better somehow, less imperfect?

I don’t view perfection that way. To that end, I don’t measure my life that way. If anything, I see the perfection that lives within my imperfection. There are times when life stops me dead in my tracks. There have been times in my life so disturbing they changed me forever. And although I could look at these things as negative versus positive, I don’t. I set that burden free awhile ago. And when I look ahead, its true, I would like to see easier roads, things that fall into place sans the disappointment, frustration or hurdles. I feel no shame in saying that I hope things get better. Yet, they will unfold and I will continue to walk on. And I will continue to live a rather transparent life. Although we navigate our journey differently and the road on which we walk has a destination that is ours and ours alone, we’re all walking. And it’s good when we’re reminded of that.

Sane

This post is dedicated to a dear friend, Christine Nagy, who, along with her husband, passed away earlier this week. She was a devoted reader of this blog. And often she would tell me how it pulled her through some of her weaker moments. She and her husband will be missed. To this witty, compassionate woman I would like to say, “Your road was hard, my friend, but you walked it well. Look upon that, and smile. Better roads will come.”

She Looks Back

SheLooksBack

As it should be upon the conclusion of another calendar year, the mind looks back. I let my gaze fall upon the profound moments and the seemingly trivial. I look at what I’ve accomplished, and those things still left undone.

I take notice of my soul’s expansion. I notice how every time my soul broke further free, it required a push to do so. Looking back, I see how many of those moments brought me to my knees. But then I see how, once standing again, my feet were balanced upon a new plateau, offering a new vantage point; offering a broader perception of, not only the world, but also of myself.

Then I look forward. I think about what it is I hope to accomplish before my life draws to an end. It is within that thought that I must look at my life’s purpose. Due to having looked back upon my life I am able to see with more clarity what my purpose is and how I would like my life to unfold. Fate has a hand in much of the unfolding of my life. My journey may have a divine destination, but it is up to me as to how I navigate the road. The rate at which I travel is very much in my control, or so I believe. The more in tune I become with my inner compass, honoring that which feels right and taking note of that which feels wrong, my wheels roll with less hindrance.

But as I look ahead, I squint to see into the far-reaching distance.  I see a woman of considerable age. She is looking back for the final time. She smiles. She is content. She wrote words that pulled more than one compass dial back into alignment. She wrote words that reminded many that they are beauty, they are not alone, and that they are meant to feel joy. Somehow throughout it all, she not only nurtured her children, but she parented them. She taught them empathy. She taught them accountability. She taught them to stretch their wings, and fly. This woman, with long silver hair, sits and squints into the far-reaching past, and sees that she walked over hot coals for those she loved. More than that, she believed in them when they didn’t believe in themselves. She offered love, unconditionally – to herself, and to others. She flew, even when she was afraid to fly.

With her grace still in tact, she breathes deep. Her purpose has been fulfilled. She lived the examined life. And she told everyone what she learned along the way. Somewhere along the line, she allowed her wheels to roll free.

I hope that woman is me. Life isn’t easy. Often we are pushed to the limit. But I’ve come to understand that we must live at the furthest point of our being. It is there, where we break, and expand into something more. There are times when parenting in a way that caused my children to become better people, broke me. But raising compassionate, balanced adults is part of my purpose. So at times, my heart breaks from doing what is right for them, even when it pains me. It is then when I grow as a parent, and they grow as people. There are times when writing the words I know need to be read, has broken me. But I needed the walls of my prior beliefs to crumble if I was to expand into broader clarity. My soul needed the room. And so the walls within me came crumbling down. And there are times when the disappointments of life have broken me. But every time I was holding onto something that no longer served me. If I was to move forward, I had to break free.

I urge you to look back. But do so not with a critical eye. Then look forward. When you do, dare to see what you want to see. Then step forward. Live the life you want to look back upon with contentment.

Sane

Focal Point

FocalPoint

Finally, a moment to sit, and do what I love. For me, sitting alone writing, is like taking a long cool drink after having been without water; its like shelter from the storm; its like taking the hand of God and sitting for a while. I’ve missed you, dear reader. I send this missive late on a Friday night, with the intent of taking us into the weekend with a thought that will sustain us: When you think, think well, when you dream, dream without limits. And when the winds spin around you, and you’re about to lose your balance, focus on one thing and one thing alone. Focus on that which brings you joy.

Lately, I’ve had to retrain my eye. I’ve worked my spiritual muscles ardently. My psyche has been brought repeatedly into alignment; sometimes easily, sometimes by sheer will. But that’s okay. I’m standing balanced. I just can’t lose my focus. I can’t lose my belief and inner knowing that – all is well. And those things that seem far from well at the moment, are only temporary. Maybe this moment is here solely for the purpose of training my focus. Maybe that is, in part, what some of the rougher stretches of road are meant to do, train us to focus not on what’s under foot, but on the horizon.

It is our horizon. It is for us to create. I believe that with my entire being. I do not feel we control every nuance, every shade of color held within the sunsets we’ll one day see. But I do feel we control the essence of what our future will hold. And so with that, I say again, think well. Dream without limit.

When one dreams with conditions, they are not dreaming at all. Dreams hold energy. Never contain the energy of your dream. Try not to look around in the present moment and find reasons to limit your dreams. Perhaps every unsavory thing in your life at present is there for one reason – to train you to focus upon something better. Easier said than done. I know. In fact, I know this all too well. So please know that all that I share with you, are from those moments when I feel God’s hand in mine. I too, live by them. I too, am given instruction. Am I a sage. No. I’m just a writer. One who sits with God, and one who leaves ample room for God to sit within me.

God is in those focused moments. I feel God is in all things. But sometimes that thought is too esoteric for everyday life. Surely, it feels too large of an idea to grapple with when one is simply trying to weather the storm. When the rain is hitting us hard, we can’t even see. In those moments, recognizing that God is in the rain and in the overhang under which we find shelter, is overwhelming. So for now, focus on those things that make you feel good. There is a reason for the feeling that stirs within you when you do. When you give yourself a moment to think good thoughts, when you are allowing beautiful music to fill your mind and your being, notice the way you feel. Breathe in that swirling feeling, don’t brush it aside. Notice the release within your chest. You are swirling something very important in those moments. I like to think that in those moments, when my heart fills, and my chest softens, I can feel the breath of God within me. Make that your focal point. Go there. It is the focal point that will get you through any storm.

Sane