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Thank you

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Never before has it been so apparent to tell those who give a damn from those who don’t. It’s as though the Universe lifted the veil making it easy to identify who gives a flying fuck about others from those who don’t. And to those who care about me, thank you.

Dear reader, when you wear a mask to prevent possibly spreading a virus onto others, you are telling me you give a damn about me. And for that, I thank you. To you, this post is written. To the rest of you, go fuck your self righteous selves. I’m tired of you and you’re higher than thou excuses for your behavior. As a writer it pains me to admit this, but actions speak louder than words. Check yourselves. Check your actions. Look in the mirror and ask yourself why you believe you matter more than anyone else. You don’t.

I’m madder than hell with those who use words to mask their incredible insensitivities toward humanity. Fuck you.

Dear reader, I write this blog to remind us that we aren’t alone. It’s super easy right now to feel alone. But you’re not. You are surrounded by exceptional people. You may not know their names. You may never share a hug with them. But they are there, and their numbers are great. So, moving forward, I want everyone to let their gaze fall upon those who have taken that outward step to protect you. Their actions are true to Source. All That Is, is Love. Love gives a damn. Love reaches further to help others. Love protects. And that is what wearing a mask does – it protects others. And there is no greater outward sign of love than that. 

I don’t know how well my heart would handle coming down with this particular virus. Without going into too much detail, I don’t think it would do all that well. So to those who choose to protect me, thank you. You don’t know that about me when you walk past me. Which makes it all the more impactful. It’s caring for the sake of caring.

Dear reader, the Universe is watching and responding. What you are doing, as simple of an act as it is, represents who you are. And who you are is someone who doesn’t want to risk harming anyone; one of the most basic tenets of love. That’s why I wear one. Even though I feel like I’m suffocating while wearing it, I do it. I do it to protect you. Is it bothersome, yes. Yes, it is. So is driving the speed limit or staying in my lane. But I do it. Because if I didn’t, who knows the wake of damage I’d leave behind me. Miles ahead I may be fine, but those I left behind might not be. 

Ugliness is magnified right now. But, I want you to look for the caretakers, the peacemakers, the mask wearers. Those who are showing up with love as their guide. At first you may not see them, they aren’t thumping their chests loudly. They aren’t acting as if the world revolves around them. But they are there. I want you to look for them. Notice them.

Love is kind. Love helps. Love encourages and uplifts. Love is inclusive. Love unites. Love gives a damn about those around them.

And if my bluntness offends anyone, I do not apologize. Because there are no other words that embody the true intent of what I want to express here, other than the ones I have chosen. I feel good with them. My compass is still pointing true north. 

Sane

Bleeding Heart Liberal

A lover of mine once called me a bleeding heart liberal. Perhaps he thought he was being coy. I thought he was being an ass. Am I a bleeding heart liberal – yes. I suppose I am. If it means I think a bit more about the welfare of others and a bit less about dominating others, then please feel free to add it to my epitaph.

What I find interesting is how often people toss around that label, bleeding heart, thinking it’s recipient is passive. Somehow less than. Perhaps even weak. I can assure you, it takes great strength to share. It takes courage to think beyond one’s self. Selfishness is easy.  Caring – that takes strength. 

So what is a bleeding heart liberal? Or at least, who is this bleeding heart liberal writing to you now? Well, dear reader, I’m not what certain media outlets and FaceBook post-bots would lead you to believe. I am a person who cares. I care about you. I care about your dreams. I care about your fears. I want you to flourish. I want you to feel secure. Not from false promises, but because you truly are.

So here’s the rub, I want that for you regardless of your color, your age, your sexual orientation, your nationality, your family structure or your mailing address zip code. Yes, there are those out there who only want those who live near them to flourish. That’s not me. I also don’t care your level of education. Most likely, many of you will far surpass that of my own. I don’t care. I have nothing to prove by dominating anyone. I don’t need to surpass anyone to feel better about who I am. Life isn’t a contest. I know who I am. And if this is what a bleeding heart liberal is, then I feel I’ve accomplished what I came into this life to accomplish. Because what it all comes down to is one thing, and one thing alone – love. And if loving you, without knowing you means my heart bleeds, then let it bleed. 

Things might feel a bit scary for some of you as of late. Anger is swirling. Division is heightened. Hell, even I feel divided. Following in the footsteps of the first bleeding heart, I too, am ready to flip some tables. 

I want you to know I’m here. With my compass still held steady. Enduring the bad days along with you. But always taking the time to step back and make sure who I am, who in me that’s showing up is still someone I feel good with. Oh, and that lover? I’m sure it’s obvious to you, dear reader, he didn’t even know me. All I can do is bless him and hope when he sits in church he starts to think of others. Kind of like Jesus, and that beautiful, glorious bleeding heart of His.

Sane

Photo Credit: Anke-Eve Goldmann is a European legend. Born in Germany on November 27, 1930, Anke-Eve defied the trends of her day and age, since she devoted so much of her life to motorcycles. Found at https://blackarrowlabel.com/blogs/journal/game-changer-1-anke-eve-goldmann

By Comparison

Good morning, dear reader. And welcome to a new day. I hope it feels better than the day before. I hope for all of us that our troubles are few and our worries are light. I pray that the challenges we face come with clarity as to why they are present in our life. I pray that love finds us wherever we go. And that laughter is never far away.

As much as there are challenges in this world. Things that can pummel us repeatedly, or body slam us out of the clear blue, there are also those hidden umbrellas I spoke of earlier. Little bits of goodness tucked amidst the turbulence. And what I want for all of us is that we are able to keep redirecting our focus, our thoughts and our energy onto those little bits of goodness. It is breathtaking how quickly we can get swept up in the hardships; our own, those of others, those of the world. The media doesn’t exactly help with that. More money is made through fear. Fear of death. Fear of aging. Fear of illness. Fear of poverty. Repeatedly showing us how bad things are. 

And I’d be lying if I said that while focusing on the good bad won’t still happen. It does. And it hurts like hell. But what is the alternative. I do firmly believe that what we think about we bring about. That there is a vibrational pull that draws unto us that which we are. So if we are in a state of appreciation, more things that match that state will appear. The reverse is also true. And that’s the rub. That is the challenge of living in a world of duality. The bad is always there. If not in plain view, its very likely hiding in the shadows. But the same is true for the good. 

I woke having received an order from a kind woman who recently opened a boutique. A week before her grand opening her brother died in an accident. He helped remodel her boutique. Now she has to try to find the goodness within all that pain. And yet, here she is, buying empowerment clothing. Messages of hope and love, from a person with a very wounded heart. And that’s grace.

Grace is in being authentic about where we are at any given time. Not just when everything in life is lined up perfectly. Not just when our first thoughts are of the highest variety. No, it’s in being aware of it all, even our shortcomings and bugaboos, and loving ourselves just the same. 

I try not to judge any situation, because as soon as I do I feel the restriction within myself. I try not to compare myself to others because as soon as I do I hand over my power; the power that says, I’m okay just as I am. I’m right on track. And it’s up to me to decide what that means. I try not to measure myself against anyone. For as soon as I do I’m judging even my accomplishments; which can be the start down a very slippery slope. I try also not to compare even my complaints, because there is always someone who has it worse. If I need to whine, I need a moment to whine.

Sometimes I wonder why on earth I’m doing what I’m doing. For heaven’s sake, dear reader, I’m not a spring chicken. And the money I’m pouring into this business surely has other places it could go. And then the Universe shows me this one woman, and I get to hear her story. And I think, okay. I get it. I’m right where I need to be doing what I need to be doing. My transparency is bringing a bit of comfort to someone. Oddly enough, just knowing that, brings comfort to me. 

And anyway, usually when I’m feeling my worst, I’m granted something purely special. A glimpse into humanity at its best. A hug from my son solely because he knew my heart was heavy. Even though his was, perhaps, heavier. Grace. 

Sane

PS I have no idea how long this little stretch of writing will last. But I’m going to enjoy it while it does. It is my intent that it offers you something positive. A get out of jail free card from being too hard on yourself. A reminder that you’re not alone. It doesn’t matter to me, as long as it aides you in your journey.

I Don’t Know

The way I see it, life is pretty confusing. It seems half the population act like jackasses and some pretty amazing people die too soon. I won’t lie to you, dear reader, I had a pretty crummy day. Although I can’t go into the details and intricacies, suffice it to say, I spent a large part of the afternoon driving the countryside trying to sort myself out. I arrived home no more sorted than before I left.

Oddly enough, after being completely drained, one of my dearest friends called. She needed a boost. I did what love does. I scraped my reserve tank, and gave it to her. I couldn’t help her feel better about the abrupt death of her friend; a woman about to set off on a new career helping others, including autistic children. Why she had to die in an auto accident is beyond my understanding. I know all my spiritual teachings on the topic. And I could’ve recited it to her. But it fails in the moment. None of it makes sense. 

Something must be in the air. Because there’s a whole lot of pain being felt by a whole lot of people right now. Things are being kicked up. Emotions are rising. and that which is usually buried is being brought to the surface. Some of which isn’t pretty. It’s part of the process though. The moon calls the tide in. And with an enormous pull, it draws it back out, moving everything underneath. We are more water than anything else. So it should come as no surprise the tide pulls deep within us too. Only, it doesn’t feel as lovely as waves washing over the shore. 

Perhaps its because humans have their own agenda. We tend to fight nature. Often, we push and pull and fight. And those of us not prone to fighting find ourselves driving the coast in our Jeep Wrangler. And on those days, after having shared the deepest thoughts within me to the heavens above, and after carefully examining everything, I exited my Jeep saying the most spiritually sound thing I could say. Fuck it.

And that’s okay. There are times when that is what you have to say. Now, before anyone is offended, please realize that it’s a form of release. It means letting go of one’s hold. Often it’s the weight of knowing what needs to be done that causes the grip to tighten. Responsibilities. Being the lone person standing on the front line. Being the single parent. The single caregiver. The person who gives their all, because it’s the right thing to do. The person who knows they should feel differently, grateful, fortunate, blessed, but can’t. Not yet. Not now. Today feels the way it feels.

So, this was the advice I gave my friend. I told her it’s okay to let herself off the hook. It’s okay to disagree with life. It’s okay to say, fuck it, none of this makes sense. It’s okay to get angry. It’s okay to push back. It’s okay to not feel our best, to not be our best. And in giving ourselves that permission, we are being our best.

I can’t say if any of this helped her. It surely didn’t ease her pain. But, I hope it helped her to know it’s alright to be confused. It’s legitimate to feel the pain and wonder what it all means. Because I surely don’t have the answers. And right now, I don’t need to know. I don’t need to know anything other than I’m doing my best. 

If you’re like me, a kind person living in a turbulent, often unpredictable world filled with some pretty thoughtless people, just know that it’s okay to say fuck it. It’s okay to step aside from  your normal calm, cool and collected self. Life is to be felt. Feel the pull. Feel the push. Go with it. And what it brings up, it’s bringing up with purpose. Even the tears, dear reader. Even the tears.

Nature is good that way. It’s constantly cleansing. Our job, I’m guessing, is to ride the waves. You’re doing alright. 

Sane

To the Umbrella Seekers

Earlier today I pulled up to a four-way stop a second or two after the person to my left. We both paused. I waited my turn. Then, said car to my left, roared forward. She looked unhappy. She looked unfriendly. She looked put upon. Most of all, she did not look pleased with me.

Please know dear reader, she may have been none of these. But such were the thoughts I had as I slowly made my way forward. You see, I’ve always been one of those persons who smiles regardless. I keep my true feelings to myself. I share only with a tiny group. That is, if two or three constitutes a group. But even with them I don’t reveal what’s really going on within me. Maybe it’s because I’m a child of an alcoholic. One of which is usually assigned the role of fixer. That was me. Or maybe it’s because I’m a diehard optimist and romantic. By God I think flowers are there to be smelled, and love is there to be felt and honored. Even if not by me. Or maybe it’s because I’m a Libra. I’ve read we are the one’s who entertain our guests well, making sure everyone has a good time. Although, I’ve met plenty a Libra who couldn’t be further from such. Regardless the reason, I smile even when unhappy. Even when I feel unfriendly. Even when put upon.

Today was one of those days wherein my eye noticed the rough edges in life a bit  more than usual. I’ve worked hard to train my eye to see the beauty in most things. Even when life is like one of those puzzles we use to play as children, wherein we had to find the hidden object. Found the hammer nestled within the bark of the tree. Now the umbrella camouflaged within a potted plant. Found it. Oh God, where’s the boot. It has to be here somewhere.

The beauty of life often works like one of those puzzles. The problem is, once older, we don’t find the same joy in having to hunt for it. Instead, it sort of stinks. Or at least on days like today it does. But the hunt is a muscle. At first it exhausts easy. Over time, it gets conditioned. Pretty soon, we barely have to glance out before we pick up on all the little treasures. Things that were there all along.

That’s how life works. At least to me it is. There’s all this stuff constantly looming around. The weight of it can be absolutely crushing at times. And, oh dear reader, don’t even get me started on the pain inherent to life on this planet. It can be brutal. The pain done to us. The pain we see done to others. The pain of letting go. The pain of having to hang on. 

But that muscle, the one that helps us find the beauty, allows us to do more than simply scratch a word off the object list next to a puzzle. It helps us to weather the storm. It builds grace.

Most likely, I will always be the person who sees layers and layers into life. It’s just who I am. But that muscle helps me to see the beauty in that too. It helps me to see the beauty in tears. In a novel so deep it hurts to read. In a song so touching I ache when it plays. The way the waves share their secrets and the moon reminds us of our small size. But also in the laughter that erupts from nowhere. The twinkle in a person’s eye. The kind smile of a stranger. Or the simple nod from someone who also is just trying to find the hammer hidden within the tree. 

It takes great strength to be that person. Anyone can complain. Anyone can point out the tree. But I hang best with those who don’t. I tend to do best either alone, or with those who want to find the umbrella in the potted plant. Those are the one’s that can also see the beauty in me.

So dear reader, surround yourself with those who aren’t afraid to hunt a little for the goodness nestled within the cracks. They are the ones who will also take the time to hunt for it within you. There’s many of us out here. In that, you are never alone. 

Sane

Normally I’m working right now. Who knew building an empowerment company would be so all-consuming (please laugh at that). But I was contacted awhile ago by someone regarding my writing. And the words they shared have stayed with me. To them this post is dedicated. 

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

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