Tag Archives: samantha hoffman

Self Discovery

Self Discovery 2

Halfway through my marriage it was shown to me that lies had been there from the start. With one child going through cancer treatment and another newly born, a substantial mortgage and a burgeoning business, I chose to look away. In that moment my spirit held its breath. I chose poorly that day, and the many days that followed. But I’m happy to say, the day did arrive when I chose differently. I chose full awareness.

It was a long road of discovery for me. When I looked in the mirror I did not like the woman I was made to see. I needed to walk the road I chose, however. I needed to own my misguided ways. If I hadn’t first stumbled and been made to free-fall would I be able to share the words I do today? My compassion is hard-earned. But it is a compassion that runs deep. Its honest.

I have no regrets for choosing poorly. As it was the only way I would fully understand the moment when I chose well. I confronted the lies of my life, that day. Not just those in my home but those said within me. The dominoes that fell afterward hit hard. Divorce ravaged everything I had worked so hard to retain. But the spirit has no concerns for the commodities of life. I feared being without. And I let it rule my days. When I chose to own the lies, I found the truth. Even though to many it appeared as though I had lost everything back then. What I lost was my cloak. What I found was my awareness.

Some wonder about the private life I now lead. It is true, I keep my circle small. And during the time I shared my life with my beloved friend, who is now gone, there were those that questioned him being right for me. Those closest to me saw what others failed to see. He didn’t lie. When it came to integrity we were perfectly aligned. This simple truth made up for a myriad of messy situations. We were honest even when it came to our failings, our fears and those things with which we were misguided. All things that most keep cloaked, we owned through honesty. To me truth is love and love is what aligns us with All That Is. My partner and I were connected on a soul level, and most likely will always be. The same is true with those closest to me. Our lives are linked together by way of love and uncloaked honesty. These things bring me a contentment I never had before. I will never settle for less again.

Lies are like weeds. For some of us clearing out one’s garden is a long, hard road to hoe. But its a must. Weeds choke the very thing we want to grow. And as hurtful as are the lies said by another, no lie is more damaging than the ones we whisper inside. I lied to myself for many years. The lies were masked in excuse-filled reasoning and self-doubt. My eyes opened when I hit bottom. I was a financially wealthy woman when that day came. But my heart was discontent and my soul was poor. Facts that required awareness for me to see.

Lies still enter my life. Maybe it’s the Universe’s way of making sure I’m tending to my garden. It is my job to pluck and pull and make way for the planting of positive seeds. I show my kids to do the same. It seems to me that this is how life goes. I had to move through many lies before I knew this truth. And that’s okay. Look into the mirror, dear reader, if like me, you see weeds that cloak and hide, have no fear. If you are seeing these things, then you have become aware; a sign that your soul has expanded. God will never bring something into your awareness before you are ready. So with that, dear reader, its time to weed.

Sane

 

Standing In The Shadows

Depending upon the sun’s rays, even the grandest of trees possesses a dark, blurred silhouette. The shadow that marks the ground behind it always fails to capture the true beauty of the object that created it. Yet it is within this shadow of ourselves, where so many of us live. We stand within the shadow, never stepping into the grandeur that is – our true self.

Some people never contemplate the many dimensions inherent to being alive in this human form. They merely carry out their days, taking it no further than that. But then there are those who live within this overcast world knowing they are not living their full potential. They see it. They feel it. But they haven’t the courage to believe they are the very thing that casts the shadow. Instead they live amidst a murky, disillusioned version of themselves.

Every time the voice within whispers, “I want to do that.” Take note. It is your grandest self wanting to emerge. Every time you feel an inclination to act out in love and benevolence, please know it is your soul wanting to feel itself in action. And every time you imagine a version of yourself that isn’t quite what you recognize at the moment, please know it is your spirit laying down the groundwork for the you, that is waiting to be expressed.

In this respect, we are the tree. The true version of ourselves is strong, steady and beautiful. We just have to stop living in the shadow of all that we are meant to be. Brutal are the winds of life, at times. But I would much rather be seated deeply within the core of myself when life gets rough. Standing in the ever shifting shadow, offers no peace, no comfort and no safety. One of my fondest memories was when a spiritual speaker shared with me a vision she had upon looking at me. She said I was a willow tree. My branches flowing gracefully, and a bit wildly in the wind. But my trunk, the core of who I am, was solid and unmoving. This vision, has helped me when the winds of life were at their strongest.

As far as I’m concerned there is something magical about trees; the way they look on like silent observers; the way they remind us to stay grounded. Never do they shirk from their grandeur. And neither should we.

Somewhere along the line we began to believe we are the shadow and not the tree. This distorted, lesser version of ourselves has never been our true self. And it never will be. In fact, I have to believe those who feel the most discord and darkness are often those who’s true self casts the largest shadow. We don’t control the shadow anymore than we control the tree. But we do control where we choose to stand within these parts of ourself.

Innately, we know when we are not in harmony with all that we are meant to be. We feel the conflict. Instead of seeing that inner contention as a sign of failure, as a soul that is broken, see it merely as a sign of the greatness that is you. Surely it must be, to cast such a large shadow and to cause such conflict. Now step into it. Live it. Be it. It is where your strength is.

Sane

Dedicated to a very special friend.

Once Spoken

etsy.com

I am filled with the most peculiar of feelings today; emotions that supersede any knowledge I have of words to describe them. Instead, they sit inside of me much like that of a vapory image; like the transparent feeling left within one’s mind after having caught a glimpse of someone they think they know, only to notice upon second glance that they’re gone. Or, like a memory, having faded, and leaving only its essence behind.

Perhaps my soul knows what it is that I’m feeling; my mind merely hasn’t or refuses to put the pieces together. Words are funny that way; once we label something with a word that has been pressed onto paper, the something that was previously without form and left hanging without certainty, now takes shape. It becomes a thing, once described.

Often, I feel, this is why there’s something cathartic about speaking one’s feelings to another. We are forced to pull together words that will later be called upon and referenced in either a positive or negative light.

I wonder if that is why so many of us hasten to label a relationship, as we don’t know if the label would enhance or diminish that which we feel toward the other. Or, more importantly, if it matches the feelings of the other.

Words, words, words – funny little things. Like a gun they have the ability to kill a person; their heart, their hopes, their dreams. But like air, they can also breathe life into someone who no longer has the strength to breathe on their own. Kind words can lift a person to heights they never knew before. Damaging words can plunge us to depths we never knew possible. And of course, there is that which is unspoken. I find those the most exhilarating and unsettling. Like magic, their power rests in the unknown.

I will bring this to a close still unable, or unwilling to put words to what rests on my heart. Instead, I will try to clear my mind, and in doing so focus upon the trees that are busy closing down for the season. I will listen to the birds, who unlike me, have no concerns over what they are saying. And of course, from this ambiguous place, I will write.

Enjoy your weekend; label it well.

Sane

Written to the sound of geese heading south for the winter and silence.

Tuesday Panties and a Rabbit’s Foot

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When I was a kid I had a pair of lucky undies, or so I thought. I also had special day-of-the-week panties. I was continually wearing a Tuesday panty on a Sunday, and Friday panty on a Monday, and so forth. But I was convinced my mojo was totally going on when I wore the correct pair on the corresponding day. But, just like the lucky underwear, It really didn’t matter. Even though for the longest time, I was quite certain it did. As a kid, I had no need for logic. I just went with whatever – worked – or seemed to work, at the time. I wasn’t picky.

When something good happens, it puts a chink into our psyche. We are, on some level, forever changed from the experience and the peaceful memory it causes. The human condition will then try to do all it can to replicate, and play over that experience. Something in the mind tells us to mix up the same potion, or listen to the same song, or do whatever we did the first time that stirred up and conjured that experience. It was good then, so let’s relive it now. If this means wearing a certain pair of undies because the last three times we wore them we aced our spelling test or the cute guy smiled at us, then so be it. Often, the mind leaps over common sense when looking for happiness.

These little psychological glitches work in the reverse, as we all know. Supposedly, I’m still riding out an eight year bad luck streak from breaking a mirror. It was a big mirror too, does that matter? Even the most logical among us wonder what if, upon seeing a black cat cross our path. Especially when heading to the doctor. But, I don’t believe in luck: good or bad. I do however, believe in being open and allowing of good things. I can not turn a blind eye to those things that make me cringe, but I do feel if my eye is more focused upon that which makes me smile and feel good, then I will become more in tune and in harmony with those things.

I feel, more than a rabbit’s foot or bauble of good fortune, we possess the power to bring about good things. And we do this first by looking for them. And if we train our eye, then it takes less effort. Life is a conglomeration of all things. Because what is good for one, may be bad for another. Both need to exist.

Life is unpredictable, both for the good and the bad. What’s interesting though is that sometimes within that which appears so unlucky, is the one thing that will bring about a positive change. I no longer try to throw the gavel down either way. Instead, I try to see the good in most things, and if no good can be spotted then I try to simply ride it out while broadening  my view. Sometimes this means, looking and looking and looking. And when I don’t give up, it is usually in that far off corner, where I’ve never looked before, that I find just what I need.

Sane

Written to Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen

Stones

veiledhaven.com

For much of my life, I’ve been engaged in battle. The worst, was the battle against myself. One can easily drown in their discontent. Like a violent wave, it can pull them under. But there are those who walk into the deep water; as they do, filling their coat pockets with stones: heavy memories, bitter disappointments, and painful insecurities. Once under, some kick violently to reach the surface; others relinquish the fight. I chose to shed the heavy coat, and in the doing, I shed the stones.

Upon reading my words, or upon hearing me speak, it is known instantly, I do not  bury myself under a coat or shroud of any kind. There is no mask or pretense. Although protective, I live quite exposed; my true self revealed through words, spoken or written. Swimming underwater, I said goodbye to all that weighed me down, and the need to be anything other than me.

My life isn’t quite how I want it to be – but after many battles – I am. And from that vantage point I write; content with myself, both the good and the seemingly bad. Because both, its fair to say, form the buoy.

The opening from my latest novel: Safe People.

Chapter 1

Bertie stood naked. Mimicking her motionless frame, her mind remained unmoving. As the hot water showered over her body, she inhaled the steam, and exhaled tired breath. For the moment, she didn’t think of the past, nor of the future. And after escaping into the gentle spaces of mental inertia, she looked down and wondered what was worse: the scars she wore on the outside, or the ones she tried to hide on the inside. 

Post written to: Walk by Foo Fighters

No Room For Logic

aninepoundhammer.com

It’s an interesting thing, reading the reviews written about one’s books. For the most part, I can pay no more attention to the good reviews than I can the bad – as both have the potential to sway me. And when it comes to writing, I don’t want any factor contributing to the words I write other than the creative energy that moves my fingers.

When a writer considers the fact that their words will be read, it prevents the words from flowing at their natural pace. The creative mind pulls back while the logical mind steps forward. There are many good uses for my logical mind, but writing isn’t one of them.

One thing though, comes from reading reviews; I am given insight into the minds of others. Even if I don’t like what they say, there is value there, at least from a creative perspective. Some have said that the love expressed in my first novel was spot-on; others have said its unrealistic. A few have said it was cheesy at times. As much of the novel parallels my own life, the feelings expressed are factual. And I can say, the best kind of love is the kind that steps deeply into the pool of unabashed expression, a.k.a cheesiness.

Not everyone though, gets the chance to experience such a love. And when they stumble upon it, as an observer, it strikes against their heart. Most want it, but feel the pain of never having had it, or having lost it. When young, we want only to love deeply, and with abandon. After aging, we become embittered toward that which we can’t seem to obtain; wealth, health, happiness, and love.

The words spoken by lovers of yesteryear were intense to the point of appearing unbelievable if spoken today. Instead, today’s world works hard to mold us into generic beings when it comes to emotions; we keep our feelings guarded. We punch onto a keyboard computer generated letters. No longer do we have the romance of a hand written note. Instead of a face staring at us from across the table, we have one-dimensional pictures by which to identify ourselves. Harsh words are said with ease due to the buffer of anonymity and cyberspace. In a world of full exposure, we are more hidden than ever. We have truly forgotten the art of love, as well as the art of expressing what we feel. What hasn’t changed, is that we feel and want with the same intensity.

We live in a sheltered world. Yet, our hearts, want for the innocence of true love, and the ecstasy of being loved with fervor. It only seems unrealistic when we believe it to be out of the realm of our personal reality. A reality we want, but are too embarrassed to admit.

With that said, I hope for everyone, that before they draw their final breath, they too feel the type of love that shakes them to the core. Because, that’s what happens when the soul falls in love. The soul has no need for logic, nor to temper how it feels.

If we are to dance as if no one is watching – then write as if no one is reading, and love as if you’ll never get hurt.

Sane

Written to The Logical Song by Supertramp

This Is My Wish

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I have to wonder, does the sun get lonely. So often it is watched with longing and soft sentiments, but nothing more. Does it whisper to the moon upon their passing. And when it does – does the moon smile, and reply.

There are those who live with one foot in this world, and one foot out. Never once do they know the feeling of sublime complacency. Instead, they hover between the two: the world that displays these words before your eyes, and the world where the words were formed.

The ethereal world that sits just beyond our view, sits blatantly in mine. Often, I wish it weren’t so. There are two kinds of writers: those who write and those who write from the soul. The latter, like the sun, is never quite at home – regardless of how bright they shine, or how natural they may appear. Don’t let this scare you. This isn’t lunacy. Lunacy is to deny what is. It takes unquestionable sanity to claim it.

When I cry, my soul cries. When I laugh, my soul joins me. And when I write, my soul speaks. I have to imagine, this is felt by those around me. Perhaps that is why I hold most at bay.

When I sit this weekend, and pour my first glass of Côtes du Rhône, I will be making a wish. Instead of blowing out candles, and casting that wish into the stars, I will send it across the world within this missive. And that wish is: That everyone sees their beauty. That they not battle their demons for too many years before coming to peace with who they are. And if, like me, they only have one foot in, let that foot be firmly planted.

That is my wish. The telling of it, is my journey.

I never feel alone when I sit with the sun, or the moon. Perhaps because we know how the other feels. They are as much a part of this world, as they are a part of the world beyond our eyes. And yet, we both just keep soldiering on.

Sane

Written to Into The Mystic by Van Morrison

Sudden Death

retrorack.blogspot.com

There’s just something about the risk factor: sudden death, that bothers me. As crazy as it may sound, I think it has more to do with the word sudden than the word death. I guess, sudden just seems so, I don’t know – sudden. Death in and of itself seems a bit harsh, but throw the word sudden in front of it, and it just seems awfully abrupt; probably because it is. As a general rule, I try to avoid those things that are abrupt: abrupt people, abrupt weather, an abrupt death.

Most of us have done it at one time or another: sat and Googled their particular ailment or condition. Ailments are one thing, as they tend to be fleeting. Conditions, on the other hand, can be a bit more permanent. And when trying to comfort one’s self about the severity of their condition, nothing is less comforting and more eye widening than reading the words: may lead to sudden death. As risk factors go, I’ve always felt this one to be a doozy.

Its been ingrained into most of us that upon the  first sign of a stroke: take an aspirin. That alone seems awfully dicey to me. I can’t say for certain that if it were me that, while half of my body was busy shutting down, I would have the wherewithal to shuffle quickly to the medicine cabinet, and look for an aspirin. And depending upon how long it took for me to get to the damn pills, would I even have the ability to line the frickin’ arrow on the cap, and pop the top off? Typically, this is a two-handed maneuver. By then, my left hand might be toast. I’d have to resort to the one-handed reverse lighter move, smacking the bottle against the edge of the counter, or worse, ripping the cap off with my mouth: Hulk-style.

Sudden death, changes all the rules. One isn’t even allowed the chance to scurry for pills, or for a weepy goodbye. Instead, while walking along, down falls the curtain; poof, they’re done. They don’t even have a second in which to wave a hand and say, “Hey Mac…toss me an aspirin.” No. They’re just down for the count. They could be in the middle of doing absolutely – anything. What if it happened while on a date? God forbid. Imagine the horror felt by the poor bloke they’re with. Both sitting, sipping wine and chatting. Then boom, down her head goes onto the table. I have to wonder, did she tell him in advance that this might happen? Did she give him the heads-up? Or was she hoping it wouldn’t hit her until well into her 90’s. Does the guy, at first, think she’s just being dramatically sarcastic about the topic of conversation? How long before he realizes the full scope of what’s just happened? My mind reels.

For the most part, the human body is rather robust, with a hint of fragility. I for one have witnessed it at both extremes. My mind hasn’t turned toward this subject due to feeling old. Even though my birthday sits only an elbow-bump away, I know I’m still a pup. My heart, on the other hand, has a way of shifting my focus like no other. Granted, I’ll be doing so while sleeping more than most, but my intent is to live a very long life. My hope is that my body follows suit.

No one knows how long they have on this earth. Knowing this as we do, I’m always a bit surprised that we don’t live out a few more fantasies, follow a few more dreams and pursue our heart’s desire. Even with my heart condition, I may very well out live the healthiest tri-athlete. My heart just chooses to let me know that even though it’s a bit gimpy, it’s doing all it can to keep me here – most likely for a reason. Whether we are given a reminder of it or not, we all have a reason. So, with that, when not sleeping, I will work to remind you.

Sane

Written to The Fallen by Franz Ferdinand

Must Have Rhythm.

Rhythm 2

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.

Sane

Written to Young the Giant’s: Mind Over Matter

Dare I Say…Quirky.

yesteryearsthoughts.blogspot.com

Famed author, John Cheever, dressed in suit and hat, then with everyone else, rode the elevator down to the lobby. Once there, he’d walk down to the basement, strip to his boxers and write.

Favorite of mine, D.H. Lawrence, was known for climbing mulberry trees in the nude; something to do with the long limbs and rough bark stimulating his thoughts. Hemingway often wrote in the nude. In that state, he’d stand, with his typewriter on the table, waist-high before him.

Even when we step beyond mere writing habits, writers seem to set the bar quite high in regard to being the most unusual of people. James Joyce, author of Ulysses, enjoyed the smell of women’s farts, as well as being spanked. Irish poet and playwright, W.B. Yeats had monkey glands inserted into his scrotum; invigorating both his sex life and his creativity. Its true: writers are very peculiar people. Dare I say – quirky.

Although I do not sit with a desk drawer full of rotten apples, as German poet, Schiller did, I do consider myself a bit left of center. To change that would be to change my view of the world, the angle by which I perceive all things. To change my quirkiness would be to change – me, as it’s a nuance that sits at my core. It’s a systematic condition, but one that plays a large part in producing all of my varying colors. I don’t mind this. And why should I? To do so would be to take myself too seriously. Nothing sinks one’s ship faster than taking themselves too seriously. As I sail from point to point, as I write and move along with life, I do so with unabashed pride in the peculiarity that is me.

I do not see these things as faults. And when one does, it’s a marker of how they view themselves, in addition to how they view life: critically. Just as I marvel at the quirky, odd-shaped, two-headed tomato, I also stare in awe at the flower who’s petals aren’t colored like the rest. The best things in life are those that allow themselves to simply – be. Never curtailing to popular opinion. Never cowering under conformity. The smartest amongst us know: popular opinion changes like the wind. So let it change. And conform only when doing so suits you. As for me, I don’t want to conform. As there is no box, large enough to keep me.

Off I go now, to climb a mulberry tree.

Sane

Written to: Oh Love by Green Day