Love Encounters

Earlier this morning I was driving to work and I came in contact with love. She was walking the street, bundled up for the cold, cleaning away the tears that fell upon her cheeks. I sat at the intersection…frozen in my own desire to hold this stranger. But, in that split second she was gone, turning down the other road. I was left there, holding the stirring wheel, saying a prayer, and wiping my own sweet tears. We are all connected. Being present doesn’t mean that you are required to “feel” everything around you. It means that you ARE everything around you. Some things will be felt while others not so much. Your task is to allow life to move through you. If you choose to participate in anything that’s on you. But, always…A L W A Y S…keep an open heart. Have a blessed day.

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Blue Plates

The other day I was hand washing a blue dinner plate. This plate was a set that arrived with my husband, Matt, when he moved in with me. He bought the dinnerware when he got a divorce over 10 years ago. Although I didn’t need the additional plates in my kitchen he didn’t want to part with the dishes. As I was washing the dish I looked at it and became very aware that the dish was mine too. There was no longer the separation of parts: this is his, this is mine…. I looked at the wet dish and muttered under my breath, “I love this dish that’s ours. It’s mine too.”

See, it was a mindful realization that there is no separation between us. For the longest time I kept his DVD’s and CD’s separate…just in case of a divorce he could take them without any hassle. I kept a lot of things apart. I’ve done this in all my previous relationships. I was always one foot out the door, out of the relationship, ready to take flight the moment I got hurt. It was a lifetime of severe programming.

And now, I own a set of imperfect blue plates (symbolizing our own union). I own a bunch of DVD’s and books and things that at another time in my life would not have been mine.

This is spiritual growth combined with emotional healing at its best. Our past beliefs can tarnish our relationships if we aren’t mindful of breaking those old paradigms.

I have settled down in a “team” (as he calls us). I have made peace with the aches and the distrust. I have found a place among all the things he came with that are now mine. It’s a lovely testimony to commitment. It’s a feeling of belonging I never had before. Once I put the guard down, the sense of betrayal, the thoughts of abandonment, I got to witness peace. I am able to see his own journey as well to feeling worthy of love.

I experience…Peace…like never before. It’s taken several years to get to this conclusion. The wet blue plate in my hands spoke to me at that very moment. I had an “Aha moment” right over the kitchen sink. It was a magnificent one that brought a set of emotional release with it to add to the water.

We are together in the hard times…we are united deeper in the good ones.

Don’t bring your dirty laundry into a relationship and expect it to be completely cleaned out. Allow for the emergence, the healing, and the trust to be built. It does not happen overnight. This I promise you. We both were ready at one time (or several times) to call it quits. It took me a lot longer than him to recognize the blessings. It took him a little longer to feel the love in the beginning. We are quite different in many levels, and yet…similar in others.

You aren’t alone in this journey. Relationships require spiritual, physical and emotional bonding. The moment you begin to accept that those around you are willing to stick around you get to a place of serenity. It’s always easier to run from the discomfort.

May you find yourself staying put and working through dirt. May you clearly see the love in between dishes, laundry, and big ole messes.

Goggle image.

No Judgment Zone

Let’s Get Real…no judgment zone!

Kali and I had quite an adventurous day. She is an incredible hiking buddy. The kid can go on and on. The parkway is

lit with fall colors. Magnificent. True magic up there.

As I drove back home it hit me: soon winter will be here. My chest constricted. Most people don’t know I suffer immensely from SAD (seasonal affective disorder). And believe me I have tried “to snap out of it,” “exercise for it,” “take supplements,” “meditate and calm the mind,” name it, darlings. I’ve done it. Even through a deepened spiritual practice I find myself in the arms of grief and depression.

Yesterday I read a post of a man on my FB friend’s list. We’ve never met. He was vulnerable in sharing his depression. I read the comments and started to cry. I don’t know him. But I do. I know how depression can hit the most happiest of folks. I feel it coming right when the weather cools down. When the leaves are all gone. When the days get short and gloomy. And when the first snow hits the ground I literally have a panic attack.

Okay so if you are judging already then I urge you to stop reading this. Move on to something else!!!

I am no one’s hero, especially for myself. So after having ended up in the hospital several times during past winters I have been proactive. I now put my self righteous attitude to the side and go get meds for three or four months. I shut my ego off. Because…because the emotions are real. The hole is dark, narrow and deep. I refuse to be defined by what others think. I know how mental health can knock you on your ass if you aren’t careful. No one knows what someone is enduring inside.

Healing happens when we face it.

I urge you to stop before you give advise to someone with mental health issues. Please! Depression is not exclusive or inclusive. It’s not racist. It doesn’t care about your religious or political beliefs. It is a chemical imbalance. It is a lot of things and it doesn’t require your judgment.

And please don’t say something like “it is all in your head” cause it really is and you sound like an idiot saying it. It’s all in my little head, alright.

My husband and I have discussed moving from the mountains many times. We come up with several places and as soon as I remember that winter is severe there I take the fantasy out of my mind. I need sun. I need warm weather. I never imagined people suffered from weather changes. There is such a thing as the winter blues.

Darlings, being vulnerable is courageous. So many of you feel alone. You feel depleted and worthless. You are NOT. You are here for a deeper purpose than you can see at this moment. Get help. Talk with someone. Recognize that your mental health doesn’t determine failure. It doesn’t decide anything but that your mind and body need help. If you had a heart condition you wouldn’t hesitate getting help. If you had kidney issues you would run to the doctor. So why is your mental health ever in question?

I’ve lost several folks to suicide. I won’t tip-toe around that subject ever again.

I know myself well enough not to ignore the signs. Today, hiking through those mountains with my kid brought joy. As I stared out to the furthest peak I was reminded to be gentle with myself. The next season will be here soon. I am grateful for a husband who never judges and holds me when I breakdown in tears…when I can’t verbalize the sadness. And he also lets me know I am not alone.

You deserve the assistance needed to move through this. It’s okay. I got you. You got this. I love you.

Pictures are from a gorgeous day on the Blue Ridge Parkway hiking with my little girl.

Staying in Love

Omgosh darlings! Sweet darlings! I might have a lot of eyes rolling at this post but I still have faith in my fellow humans. I still continue to search for the good. Of course there are some disturbed and messed up folks. No excuses there BUT I promise you that there are freaking yummilicious fellow humans. There are more of the goodness than not. I come across them all the time. I am always surprised by the kindness in others and how easily it appears when you are opened to it.

Hate doesn’t dissolve into love. Never has. It will never ever fix the world. So…I’m choosing to stay in my love bubble. I can see the dark side of things. I’m not that oblivious. I don’t have my head stuck in the sand. I just choose to love. Oh my goodness…I will ALWAYS love ❤️. I will always feel blessed for what I receive in return. I am conscious of truly finding the good in humanity. I will continue to help another, reach for the needy, and hug as often as I can. Especially strangers.

As long as I breathe I will hand out smiles and words of encouragement. I will compliment someone when they seem hopeless and crack into sweet laughter because it’s contagious. It’s a divine plan and I am sticking with THAT!

I would love nothing more than for you to join me in shifting all the negativity into some delicious positive energy. Cause together, sweethearts, we can!!!! If you want change in our world it starts with you. It starts with me. It starts with us.

Tenderness of Kindness

This afternoon I witnessed one of the most loving acts of kindness. I went to visit my 96 year old client. We were in the hospital yesterday. Today she was back at the facility. Life is truly ever changing.

When I got to her room I told her I had a vanilla shake for her. She wanted up and out of her bed. I asked the male nurse to help me transfer her to her wheelchair.

She can’t see. She asks for folks to come close so she can touch their face.

He picked her up. She said, “Darling, is that you?”

He answered with such tenderness, “It is my love.”

He sat her down and she grabbed him and kissed him on the cheek close to his mouth. “No one understands our love affair.”

He smiled (even though she can’t see him) “No, they don’t. But they don’t have to…”

She said loudly, “No one has to. We love each other too deeply and I don’t care what anyone thinks!”

He left the room and I asked her about love. She shared it asking me for my hands. She spoke of connections. She always thinks I’m her favorite nurse. No point in correcting her. So she said, “You are young. Don’t work so hard that you forget to love full heartedly. If you are married make it unforgettable. Don’t take each other for granted.”

He returned to guide her out to the social gathering. Once again she grabbed him and she kissed his hands this time.

There was such tenderness from him. And acceptance. And something else…compassion and humanness. It’s not just his job. It’s the connection with her. It’s about showing her dignity as she’s transitioning. He sees her. She feels it.

She told me about her husbands. She shared about her church. I’ve heard most of it before but each time I witness something deeper in her stories. She has lived and wants another to know that she had a life that mattered. For those precious moments I am transported to another time and place where she is the protagonist of magic.

I Don’t Really Know

Elizabeth Gilbert sometime ago wrote on her blog an article about not knowing: not knowing why bad things happen. I have given that so much thought. I am often in deep connection with divinity and ask the same questions: “Why does this happen to some folks? Why do some people die so young? Why this? Why that?” I am returned with the unknown of echoes from the universe. I don’t have to know. And, when things happen in my own life that rattle and shake and shatter pieces of me I ask in the silence of prayer: Okay, God, what’s the meaning of this lesson? Most of the time I intuitively know the answer to be “just because it’s part of my evolution.” But, this is in my case.

I don’t know why a mother must lose her child so young. I don’t know why some people have to die in massacres that destroy our faith in humanity. I can’t understand what’s happening to our earth. I don’t really know why so many are stricken with grief and fear while others seem to have it easier. It’s not for me to know. I can only focus on what I see and that alone has little control.

Our lives are strings of knowing and not knowing; of accepting and growing; and of letting go to what is our humanness. This life at times is blindsided, full of short vision, and it isn’t until something tragic happens that we gather together in faith. I don’t believe God allows for this. I don’t believe that there is a puppet in the sky (in no religion) that determines who gets what. I don’t believe that what happens in another time is paid here…sometimes I fantasize that this would be an easy answer.

Most of us journey through our days trying to remember things while others are trying to forget horrific events. Some of us spend countless hours running towards a goal to better our lives while others are running away from the past. It’s a matter of picking and choosing what thought you will give energy to at any given time.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those lost in this shooting that happened a few days ago. When will it all stop? How do we stop it? What can we do to be open to humanity without putting up walls and living in fear?

My heart is also opened to all those struggling on a daily basis with mental illness, poverty, hunger, injustice, bullying, bigotry, racism, and atrocious violence.

Every single one of us started out as a seed of hope. We were a blank canvas and our parents, teachers, society began to dictate what was on that canvas. Not one particular person to blame.

We can’t be responsible for the past of our childhood. BUT, we are responsible on how we participate in the drama and our lives. We get that choice.

As I have mentioned that I don’t know these answers I do know one: love is the binding force to humanity. Love is the thread that ties every belief and religion. Love is the hand that embraces us through Spirit. Love is God. It’s the universal language. And, this knowing comes from a lifetime of witnessing how love changes one person at a time. Let’s not lose faith in humanity. Let’s not lose hope in our future. Let’s continue to ask the questions of how to help and prevent these tragedies without such hatred. It was hatred that created the tragedy. Let’s not go into that mode. You cannot live in the same space of love and still live with the same intensity of hate.

I love you. Have a blessed day. May you choose the right question and answers that enlighten your path.

The Divine in You

In India there is a Sufi story about creation and where to put God (or the Divine or whatever name you place on a higher power): “If we put God at the bottom of the ocean, man will dive there. If you place God on a mountaintop, man will climb there in search of him. But if we put God inside of him, man will never think to look there.”

In many spiritual philosophies and theories it is said that the next teacher is just around the corner. When needed to grasp a powerful lesson she (or he) will appear as a mighty ferocious warrior ready to embark you in a journey questioning faith, love and patience. In a second she takes her sword to conquer the ego and the false perception of truth, control and belief. Usually this great warrior appears in the path of adversities, addiction, loss, physical crisis or a significant event that forces us to search for inner strength. And it is in her presence that we are humbled to bow and listen while she takes that sword and smacks it on us to pay close attention to what is important leaving us bruised, achy and tired.

I am blessed to have had a warrior like Xena show up recently. I am being pushed to those extremes and reminded that nothing happens by mistake. Her teachings are magical and condensed to make the lessons stick without much time to rest before the next battle. It’s in those times that I get quiet and find the God within me and how I don’t have to run around looking for him out there. I get to see him looking at me through the eyes of another –a soul-to-soul mystical connection. I get to witness true cosmic changes through every action and reaction.

This is the Divine Feminine in me reminding me of my strength. It is God through all others that reflects those parts of myself that need improvement or attention. I am embraced by divine energy shielding me from any real harm. I am what I am. I am who I am and I will not apologize for that. We all have the power to look within and find God. He/she isn’t on some cloud in the sky treating you like a puppet. He isn’t to blame for your choices. He isn’t here to punish you. He/she is within the walls of your physical body, the embodiment of all that is humble, compassionate, and graceful. It’s our nature to detect, accept and reject what doesn’t suit us. You can only meet another at the level of their consciousness and divinity.

How Ahhhhmazing, right!? To know that no matter how far and wide you search for faith, it is sitting right inside of you the whole time. And it is through the external forces of another that we are reminded of our divine purpose and our right to keep compassion for those who hurt us. It’s through forgiveness that we find God really displaying our humanness. It’s through the miracles of love that we accept it in us. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to strengthen my tools, heart and mind in this game called life.