Author Archives: SaneSamantha

About SaneSamantha

To those who've liked, followed or just merely stopped by: Thank you! Words and how we use them have the potential to be like good wine and laughter - medicine for the soul. Author of A Contented Mind and the children's chapter book series: Dainty Delaney.

Be Kind

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Julie Andres 1959. Photo Credit: 1stdibs

You wouldn’t believe the number of people who approach me and say how timely our business is. The whole MeToo movement, and all. Oddly enough, even though we are a women’s empowerment company, and having been raped myself possess an intimate understanding of the trials and hardships involved; I’ve never zeroed in and tried to push our presence within the movement. The business was started before the movement, not because of it. 

We are here to support women, not capitalize from their pain. Ours aren’t viral quotes slapped onto t-shirts. Our messages are hard-lived, intelligent and far from flippant. And our clothes are quality pieces, responsibly sourced from company’s with ethical work practices. We’ve chosen to empower from thread up. 

Most of all, we are here for all women, regardless of who they are, where they live, how much money they make or the level of education they’ve received. We don’t care the size, shape or ethnicity. We know, first hand, that we’re all one – and we’re not the product of our past. We are not what has been done to us, and we are not what has been said about us. That’s where the rebel kicks in. I come from a long line of rebels. And I think every woman needs to dig deep and find the rebel within. And in doing so, rebel against the idea that they are not enough.

I had someone once say they love one of our pieces, the one that reads: Believe In Yourself – you are enough. Except, she said, it needs to read: you are more than enough. I get what she was saying. However, what she was saying goes against one of the pillars with which we’re built. I want us to stop measuring ourselves. Plain and simple. Once you realize that you are enough – you’ve always been enough – it was how you were born – it is how you will always be – stay there. 

Once you incorporate the word “more,” things get dicey, things get judgy. It’s sly and insidious, but trust me on this one, once you start considering yourself to be more of anything, than the voice in your mind also begins to toy with the notion that you are less. But when you are – enough – you are enough. You are not barely enough. You are enough. 

I don’t know why all of this is on my mind so heavily today. Perhaps because as I continue to grow this company, the pressures begin to mount; the forks in the road become a bit more stressful. Go this way for more money, or this way for more purpose. I’ve never been ruled by money, I generally choose purpose and let the cards fall where they may. And my purpose in investing all that I am and all that have in this company is to help women to be kinder to themselves; to stop judging themselves so harshly. Once we are kinder to ourselves, we are naturally kinder to others. And in that we help to empower everyone. 

It takes great strength to be kind. Especially in a world where kindness is seen as weakness. But believe me, it takes phenomenal strength, often warranting reaching mega deep within one’s self, to be kind in the face of adversity or fear. Anyone can be a jerk. The world is filled with people behaving as jack-asses. Doing so is easy. So, as you embark on your weekend think about being kind. When the voice in your head is critical of you or others – don’t reward it with your attention. It’s merely the weakest muscle responding from habitual use – it’s a habit. Be good to you. At your core you are pure positive energy; love. Tap into it, even if it takes a bit of reaching. In time, it’ll get easier. In time those muscles will grow. And in time, it will be your new habit and oh, how good it will feel.

Sane

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Think I’ll Just Sit Awhile

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Marilyn Monroe Photo Credit: Auction Export Blog

Tomorrow my life will go back to its usual busy-ness. So, I want to make a moment to write to you, dear reader.

If you’ve been feeling the peculiarity in the air lately, you’re not alone. Things are moving. For many of us, we are coming upon an important point in the road. We’ve been driving a long, long time. And, truthfully, we are tired. But, like any good road trip, we’ve rounded another corner, brought ourselves over the knoll and before us is a moment of awakening.

We’re getting a little clearer and little better and owning our power a little more. Let me explain what I mean by that. This isn’t the kind of power the world seeks. The kind of power of which I speak is personal. It’s another moment of self discovery that points to our part in the unfolding of our life.

It’s easy to point outward. But, when one is aware of their spiritual journey – we’re all on one, whether aware or not – they slowly begin to realize that life is all about how they respond to what’s happening around them. And many of those happenings are brought about by our beliefs. If you don’t believe me, dear reader, then take tomorrow and look upon it differently. We walk through this world with a filter – all of us. Our filter gets weighed down with wounds, fears and mental judgments. And more often than not, the judgments are wrong. Every person, without exception, is having a spiritual experience.  They are the major gravitational force within their life, just as you are with yours. See love. See openness. With yourself and with them. Even in the midst of chaos and turmoil and angry drivers and inconsiderate comments. Be what you want to see in the world. Coast forward with the deliberate intent of holding childlike optimism and openness in your heart. Give everyone a break. Including you. Breathe.

Now, do it again. And again.

That is the point at which many of us have found ourselves. Aware. Aware of our part in all this. Aware that the ultimate power over our lives rests with us. To think otherwise would be disingenuous. We know better. Now, I don’t say this lightly. I’ve had things done to me that were completely out of my control. I have to imagine my soul knew what I needed to experience for reasons even I don’t understand. It’s what I do with the experience that matters now. And perhaps that is why I had the experience – to later decide what I wanted to do with it. Let it scar me beyond recognition or let it open me to a deeper level of understanding and compassion and empowerment. I chose the latter.

But it took years to make that decision. I sat at that particular intersection for decades. And that’s okay. Life is like a road trip. Some days we sit behind the wheel not knowing what we’re doing or where we should go. Immobilized. Other days are spent speeding forward and enjoying the hills and curves and view. All of it, is part of it. And those days spent staring blankly forward, well, often there’s some inner healing going on. So don’t damn the pauses in life. Life is maddening and frustrating and saddening and exhilarating and glorious. The one, and only, thing that remains a constant within your life – is you. You are the driver. You decide how to respond every step of the way. So clean out the backseat. Get yourself in order. Put the top down, and take a moment to relish the new view before you. Heaven is here on earth. Look at it. It’s not out there, though. It’s within you.

Sane

Where the Water Takes Me

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Mary Tyler Moore Photo Credit: I.pinimg.com

There are days when I wake feeling as though I’m stuck in the trough of a wave. My energy, or vibration, feels lower than I’d like. This isn’t the worst thing in the world. Often this low part of the wave brings me deeper and closer to things buried within myself. But I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed it more than when I’m on the crest or calm waters.

But that’s how life goes. It has to have an ebb and flow. It must have highs and lows. Because of the uncertainties experienced during my youth, I love consistency. I like plans. My soul, however, must’ve jumped into this life with a whole different goal in mind. Instead, it keeps taking leaps of faith, one after another. There are days when I am totally cool with this – such as when I’m riding a crest. And then there are days when those leaps feel far riskier than I’d like.

Am I doing the right thing? Is this the right direction in which to take this company? Is this the right affirmation and the right design? The questioning rarely ends. And it doesn’t for anyone; not anyone with an engaged, thinking mind. The truth is, there is nothing outside ourselves that we can count on with certainty. As much as we’d like to hammer everything into place and make certain nothing changes until we choose for it to change, that’s not reality.

The constant, is us. The one thing within our control lives within ourselves. We have complete control of our inner being and it’s voice. Maybe that’s why I like so much the affirmations we’ve designed. They remind me that, although I can’t control a whole lot of what’s going on around me, I have complete control of how I view myself. I have complete control of the endless judgments I declare as I move throughout the day. I also have complete control to stop judging – myself and others. I can, with practice, choose to remain open. I can choose to keep pivoting away from my habitual thought patterns, and instead, look at life with optimism and hope. I can choose to view the world with loving eyes and a loving mind.

Its usually some old remnant or mindset buried deep that prevents me from living that way on a continual basis. That’s what the trough shows me. Things hidden within the depth of my being become visible once the water is pulled away. Once revealed, I can dislodge it from where it’s buried and bring it into the light. Almost always, just by my acknowledging something; some little knee-jerk belief or fear or hurt, it begins to transform. And then I transform. I have to imagine we never truly rid ourselves of little bugaboos; scars from our past; fears developed when young; little insecurities that have insidiously managed to metastasized through the years. But in time, there are less of them. In time, we know what’s in there and we know what’s tripping us up.

So these quiet times aren’t so bad, dear reader. If anything, they cause me to put down the paper work, step away from the work table and the designs and the numbers and the endless list of things I should be doing – and return to you. Return to writing. The thing I want most to do once this company is doing what I want it to do – empowering others and reminding them that they are enough, whether riding the crest or down in the trough.

Sane

To Breathe Again

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I hadn’t expected to write tonight. But the stars shifted and the planets aligned. In other words, it’s a good day. I wouldn’t be surprised if my readers have all moved on by now. But always know this, eventually, I’ll be back. That’s how it goes when writing is your love. You never can ignore your love. It beckons you. You long for it. So, finally dear reader, I am here once again with you. Oh how glorious.

My world is just as it should be. All is dark and the music is softly playing with only the glow of my MacBook. I used to write to you while looking out on the vast horizon. I’d watch cars in the distance, miles away. Ever since moving from that one writing spot, I’ve struggled to write as I’d like. But its in my blood, it’s the one thing I always long to do. It’s what always feels right. I have to imagine its similar to how it feels when reunited with the one you love.

It’s that time again, isn’t it? We’ve reached the end of another year. I love this time. It’s as painful as it is joyous. It is the embodiment of who I am. The dichotomy of me. I am always caught between extremes. I am the one who loves to share laughter with friends, and yet, turns down side streets while walking her dog as to avoid others. I love silence. I love rooms filled with activity. I love the deepest parts of me that sit unmoved and steady. I love the parts of me that seem to stir at the slightest gust of the wind. I guess, this is why I’ve never truly felt as though I’ve fit in. Because I don’t. It took nearly five decades for me to be okay with that reality. I’ll probably spend the next few decades I have left helping others do the same. Because we should all feel good with who we are; whatever shape and style that is. It doesn’t matter. You are you for the reasons you are. Love it all. And perhaps once you do, then you’ll be less tormented and more peaceful. And isn’t that why we are all here – to enjoy the experience? If not, then why?

This time of year stirs up so much for so many. But the stirring isn’t bad. It’s a good thing, as hard as that is to believe. Do what I do, look at it. Don’t dismiss it. Don’t become it. Stay the observer. Allow the memories from your past, the good and the bad. Allow the grief of things lost. Allow the grief of things you never even had. That’s okay. Every bit of it reveals something about where you’ve been. Always good to see what’s been buried, because whether you realize it or not, you carry with you the stones you’ve tried to hide.

With every new year I take this motley mix that is me and think about who I am. I like the me that makes no sense. I’m not always sure what to do with me. But I like me. So I stand at the cusp of a new year owning every newly upturned stone, every quirky nuance, every soft emotion that sits on top of a very independent personality. I’ve gotten better at recognizing how God works through the personality that is me. And with every day I try to let the God within me show more.

For as soft-hearted as I appear, I am not such a passive player in my life. Instead, I like how it feels when I choose to trust in God; the God that moves the heavens; the God that resides within me; the God that finds its way into every song; the God that moves the seas; the God that lives within the trees. So to this new year, let us all be more okay with who we are.

I hope to be back more often in the upcoming year I will always be back, at some point. Because, eventually, I have to breathe.

Sane

To Feel the Sky

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To say that its been awhile would be quite an understatement at this point. I always miss these moments – where my words and your thoughts whisper and mingle as they do. Bliss.

This I know for certain, dear reader, Spirit lives and breathes through the world around us. And that brings me to what led to tonight’s writing. A friend asked if I had anything to write, about Northern Michigan. I thought on it for a moment, not sure what I would write. More often than not these posts are about that which heals.

Then, as It always does, Spirit waited for me to catch on. I finally did.

I’ve never felt more connected to All That Is than here; with my feet grounded and nature surrounding me. It heals. And that is exactly how I grew up in Northern Michigan.

While growing, Northern Michigan gave me continual communion, and it still does. When I need to be embraced, I look to the trees. When I need to hear the voice of God, it’s there within the wind that speaks through the pines. And of course, there’s the water. Often the water feels like that of an altar. It’s where I go to cleanse all that troubles me. Never has it let me down.

As much as I look forward to warmer climates, a part of my very being will only feel at home when smelling the leaves as they surrender to autumn’s call. I grew up with that distinct perfume. I also grew up with the smell of hot ferns as they collected on the foot pegs of my dirt bike. Something about that smell heals me. I learned to be reckless and wild on dirt roads that twisted and turned through the woods. To this day, a dirt road still makes me smile. But it was also here that I’ve healed a million broken parts within myself. Its been under a Michigan moon that I’ve howled in desperation, and also given thanks. Nothing beats the healing power of a Michigan sky. And nothing feeds the soul better than a Michigan autumn sun. Just as it signals the trees to let go for the season, it signals me to stay in harmony with the ever-changing cycle that is life. We are meant to let go. I learned that from the trees. I’ve never learned one thing from a preacher. But I’ve learned volumes from nature. No right or wrong, it’s just who I am. The water taught me to be who I am, all that I am, and I’ve never looked back since. The long Michigan winters have shared with me their truth, don’t hide your darkness. Michigan does it with grace, as well as fury. Its a time to explore that which can not be appreciated during the long days of summer. And so it goes with me.

There’s a line from one of my favorite songs, “Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic.” I know the smell of the water that surrounds me and the feel of the sky above me. And even though these stars accompany me wherever I go, I know, I’m at home here. There’s something primal about communing with nature. The trees absorb me. I absorb them. For me, church is when I look out and see water like glass. Or enjoy the sermon of waves raging on high and the willows that sway like a soulful gospel choir. It’s all there, if the eyes can see. And its bliss if the heart is open to feel.

So I will end this tonight with a thank you. Thank you for the invitation to write about Northern Michigan. And thank you God. You showed me, when young, that You can always be found within the trees and the water and the stars. A church to which the door is always open. All inclusive. Ever welcoming. Always answering, even my most difficult of questions. Thank you for that.

Sane

Drive Through the Night

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I remember once driving through the night. Honestly dear reader, I wasn’t just driving, I was escaping. I had everything I owned crammed into a Ryder Truck, my Acura in tow, my two year old son and mother beside me. I drove and I drove until the lights of Phoenix were far behind me. There comes a time for all of us when we have to take big steps toward freedom. Sometimes I think all I’ve done is taken big steps. At this point in the game, I’m an Olympian Pole Vaulter. But please know this, I wouldn’t change a thing.

We are all on a journey. Baby steps are just as valuable as pole vaulting. Actually, you can’t do one without having first done the other. So if you are finding yourself having to take big steps or baby steps to start something new, know that you are not alone. The one’s who don’t take those steps are those that will, most likely, be tasked with the same struggles throughout their life or perhaps in a different life. As for me, I try to stop the bad cycles when I recognize them.

One of the biggest cycles we all face is in learning to let go. Often, this means letting go of a relationship. Life is about relationships. We live an existence that is in relationship to what’s around us. Letting go of a steady paycheck can be devastating. Letting go of a much loved home is brutal. Letting go of someone you love is near crippling. Yet, there comes a time, when that is exactly what we are faced with doing. We must shift our direction, lift the energy, and in doing so, allow in something new.

And we know when its time, don’t we? In our core we know. From there, we usually fight it. I will say this, it does get easier. But I’ll also say that it never truly gets easy. Then again, I’m a tender heart. I feel things others don’t. Having said that, if I can do it, so can you.

Its okay if you notice you’re stuck. Its okay if you notice that those surrounding you don’t respect you. Its okay to realize that you took a few wrong turns along the way. Don’t judge yourself. Instead of viewing it as a set back, look at it as another step toward perfecting peacefulness. We almost never know what peace feels like until we are surrounded by the absence of it.

Its okay to take a stand. In fact, the best thing you can do for yourself is to fortify yourself with grace, look at yourself with Love and treat yourself accordingly. Often this means letting go of a few people, a few situations, a few habits. Every day is a new day to drive through the night toward making things right.

I’ve driven through the night both metaphorically and physically. Either way, it was filled with an indescribable ache, as well as an indescribable sense of freedom. With grace, let go of those things that no longer serve you. With a blessing, let go of friendships that have went beyond their season. And with a special prayer, release those mismatched loves. Both of you deserve something better.

I remember one night saying goodbye to someone that to this day I still love. As I sat in my Jeep, I felt the death. But I also felt the birth of hope for something better. Since then I’ve let go of people, places and things. It must be where I am in my journey. And I’m doing my best to move forward without too tight of a hold on anything. No map. Just my senses tuned to my core and the stars above. Now, if you’re needing to let go, do so with an open heart. Take a moment to look up and into the night sky. Breathe. Trust the Universe. It won’t let you down. Its time to shake it off and start again. Something better awaits. But it begins with you.

Sane

Judge Me Not

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We are so much more than the labels put on us or the numbers associated with our life. One’s salary, savings or lack there of. One’s house value. Years of education. Pants size, shirt size or dress size. One’s color should not put them automatically into a compartment. One’s gender should have nothing to do with how they fight, live their life or what type of partner feels most right to them. Who you are has nothing to do with the stats that may, or may not, be associated with your journey. Dear reader, can you sense how tired of judgement I am?

And yet, it’s a profoundly human reaction to judge others. To size them up and then render verdicts inside our mind about who they are and what they believe. I say the hell with that.

In starting this women’s empowerment clothing line, I’m continually coming up against other people’s ideas about what this company should be.  Often, I have to pull back, take stock of all the decisions that have brought me to this point, noting if I’ve stayed true to my core principles – No Judgement. So as I get judged, sized up and put into a box, I have a choice. Show up as my highest self or get down and dirty to prove my point.

Truth is, I don’t need to prove anything. Nor do you. Our clothing is for all women. Even women who aren’t sure if they want to associate as women. If you like it and speaks to you, wear it. If it doesn’t, that’s okay too. Just know this, I have no desire to judge either way. I know how judgement feels. I know what it feels like to have someone take one look at me and size me up, incorrectly.

It took decades to shed the labels that have been thrown on me. Even the positive ones. I don’t like anything that limits. I’m me. I fumble and bumble my way along trying, always, to be my most authentic, best self. And when the impulse arises to judge another, and it always does, I try to harness the impulse before it develops into full-blown analysis and conclusion. It gets easier. Bottom line, if I don’t know you and you don’t know me. It should always start as a clean slate. Let me show you who I am by action and deed. Truth never can stay hidden. So give it time. Then decide.

This women’s empowerment clothing line doesn’t exclude anyone. Because all women could use empowerment in one form or another. Don’t be fooled to think otherwise. And I will continue to create affirmations that speak to all women, and do my damnedest to offer clothing that works for all women. It has been one of the hardest challenges I’ve ever undertaken. It may sound easy, but manufacturers don’t cater to all women. So finding something that works with a size extra small all the way up the line, and looks beautiful and is made of good quality materials, has been enough to turn my hair silver. There is no right or wrong in my book, except for that of exclusion and judgement. And damn these manufucturers like to exclude.

So dear reader, let’s all do our part to make this world a better place by judging less and loving more. Start with you. You can’t offer to others what you can’t first offer to yourself. Try not to limit someone because of their gender, race or socioeconomic situation. Try not to judge yourself by these things as well. We are all evolving. We are all fumbling and bumbling along; some more gracefully than others, yes. But we’re all still on a journey just the same. So be open. Be kind.

Am I a single mother, twice divorced with a business bankruptcy sitting in my past? Am I a victim of rape? Do I fight like a girl? How many degrees do I hold or funds do I possess?  How do you classify me? You don’t. I’m a spiritually guided soul who is doing their best in this world. There is no label or box that could ever fit me. And that’s just the way I like it and God intended me to be. Most likely the same holds true for you.

Sane