The Ants Go Marching

When I was a little girl we lived in this tiny apartment in Hollywood, Florida. Four females in a one bedroom apartment. One small bathroom the size of a closet. I would spend time in the bathroom to give myself space alone.

There were these tiny ants (that my mother hated and tried everything to kill) go up and down the pink tile through the window. I would sit there and study them. They would make a straight line up and down, stopping to communicate, and keep going out the door of the bathroom. It was always the same two tiles and the same straight line.

I marveled at the stories they would whisper to each other. And if there was a crumb they would carry it to each other. They worked together as a tribe. Sometimes passing the weight on to another ant coming the opposite direction.

I would close my eyes and prayed that when I grew up I could be strong like them, resilient and committed. I dreamt of having a tribe who would let me know of danger ahead or when to let go and allow another to pick me up. I wanted friends who showed me the way without manipulating the path. I desired non judgment, competition, or jealousy. I wanted what those ants had.

As young as 11 years old I recognized the importance of a village. It took till my mid-forties to find one. I looked for the ant-like tribe for years. I admired it in others. I would create scenes of life stories while watching “Friends” or “Seinfeld.” I believed it wasn’t a myth. I would someday have what those ants had in my little imagination.

Once I stopped filtering myself I attracted the most powerful village of loving folks who wanted nothing from me but love. Once I became vulnerable they showed up. They have supported me, helped me, created with me, and allowed me to grow spiritually.

We are all trying to find our way home while believing that we are all alone. We are not. Sometimes folks come into our circle for ten years. Other times for ten days or ten hours. People are mirrors of your soul. Not everyone will stay forever. But when they do they help move mountains, carry your spirit through rocky waters, help elevate you and you are no longer alone. You become a circle with no beginning or ending just sustaining each other through it all.

Thank you to my little ants who help me get from here to there. I love you. And to all those others I am yet to meet along the path! 🐜🐜🐜

You are not allowed….

ants

When I was a young teenager we lived in a one bedroom apartment in South Florida. Four of us in that tiny space. I would disappear often to the one bathroom and sit on the toilet to get breathing space. There were these tiny ants that my mother would always try to kill. They would walk this one line of grout up and down from the bathroom window to the end of the door. She was relentless in her cleanliness and did everything to get rid of these little critters. They would disappear for days and then return with more friends. I would sit and watch their trail. They would travel alone in a single line but every so often stop for a second and touch another ant coming the opposite direction. I would make up stories about their conversations, their whereabouts, and their journey. No matter what came their way these ants never gave up. They would come back and travel the miles of tiles to get to and from their destination. I would sometimes notice that in their quick exchange of conversations an ant would turn around and go the opposite way alongside her new friend.

This morning I thought about those ants again as a friend of mine is battling through depression. I thought about the giant support system that those ants seemed to have in their journey. I thought about them not giving up. I thought about their community and how they stuck together relentlessly against all odds (and believe me, my mother tried everything to get rid of them). They were fiercely tenacious with admirable will power.

You are not allowed to give up. You are, however, allowed to fall, cry, break, stumble, curse, feel sorry, ask God all the why’s you want, but you are NOT ALLOWED to give up on this precious journey of life. I have seen darkness. I have been in your place of sorrow and desperation several times in life. I have also been relentless like those ants waiting and traveling and moving forward without knowing what waited for me on the other side. I don’t know your emotions but I can relate to your story. Life appears to be going one way and then some giant force takes your power away, turning your dreams upside down. It’s frustrating, exhausting and paralyzing. But I believe that those things that break us are the ones that also teach us to use our faith to mend again.

You cannot stop believing that “this too shall pass.” I can give you a thousand cliches. I can give you a hundred examples of true life stories. It doesn’t matter when you are in that place of darkness. It doesn’t matter how many folks stop along the way to give you a word of hope. But, you are not alone. I’m here. You have a giant support system even when you can’t name a single person. You are not allowed to quit on life. You are not allow to stop and check out. You are allowed to do many screwed up things in life, but quitting on your existence is not one of them!

I have a plaque on my wall with a quote from Marilyn Monroe. It says, “Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” What if the path you were on only looked good but it was not what your higher self has intended for you? What if, in letting go and releasing, something magical will appear? What if everything you thought was the best for you really was just a journey up and down a pink bathroom taking you and molding you into something better? You just don’t know. SO, my dear beautiful friend, you are not allowed to give up. You can sit and cry. You can stay in bed for a little longer and cover your head with the blankets pretending the world doesn’t need you. I don’t care how you move pass this point, but you are not allowed to give up on life. Life determines when you give up…when you have no breath in you. And, today is not that day.

Give your life purpose in present of this moment. Notice those small things around you: the bees sucking on the plants, the naked trees dancing to the cold wind, the birds flying over you, a freaking snow storm arriving and how the sky is so purely white. Whatever it takes to get yourself out of this darkness is a step in the right direction. But, only YOU KNOW how to do this. I love you. I am here.  Let’s go find some ants together…!