Say Yes.

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I really enjoy taking pictures. From the time that I was a child, I would ask for a camera for Christmas, and over the years, was given several different kinds. I enjoy taking photos of my loved ones and the beauty of nature around me.

So, for the last few months, I have been thinking about the idea of getting a new camera, a digital one. I have smaller digital cameras, and I even have a manual 35 mm camera. But I wanted to do something more with photographs, and really capture what it is that I see with my eyes.

I found a camera that I really liked, and that a friend was recommending was a good one to start with. Yet, for weeks, I was ambivalent about whether or not to actually buy it. It was expensive. I had the money, but it meant spending a chunk of my savings to get it. I thought of dozens other things I could do with that money, and dozens of reasons why keeping it in the bank, just in case, was the right thing to do. I also told myself that it was selfish in a way, to spend money on something when I already had a camera.

Then, two weeks ago, I finally breathed deeply, and said yes, and went and bought that camera. It was an amazing decision. Not because I had finally said I would spend the money and buy it, but because I actually was saying Yes to myself.

There are not many things that I don’t say yes to for myself anymore, and I don’t mean just buying things or spending money. I say yes to myself about visiting my loved ones; spending time with friends; trying something new and different; or just being in love with those around me. Saying yes means that we want to express love for our selves, to take good care.

There are times when I say to myself that saying yes is being self indulgent; spoiled; or not having any restrictions. And, in a way, it is. It means that we are saying it is okay to be open to many, various possibilities. And, whether that is symbolic by ordering dessert, buying a camera, or meeting new people, we are opening and being available in our world.

So, I am shooting pictures with my new camera; I am so grateful that I decided that getting it was the best thing to do. I am so grateful that once again, I said yes to being in my life.

Love is All you need.

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I have said it often in my blog before, that I have times when I feel completely overwhelmed, discouraged, and vulnerable. I feel scared and alone. I feel like whatever it is that I am experiencing can not be understood by anyone else. I feel like there is a darkness that exists inside of me, and around me, and that the light that is supposedly there will never be seen again.

Sound familiar?

So, when that happened with me a few days ago, I was sure that the feeling would not pass anytime soon. Then, I woke up the next day and still felt the residue. I was sure it would not pass easily, and yet, over the hours of that next day, the darkness slowly dissipated and gave way to the light that was waiting for me.

What I thought about when I let the light return, is that all that I ever need to remember on any given day is what I can do to return to love. What I can do to return to peace. What I can do to connect or join with my world. And, when I am in that feeling of darkness, I am not choosing any of those things.

When I am feeling dark, I am choosing to not love myself, or others, and it becomes so tempting and juicy to judge others around me more than ever. When I am feeling alone or discouraged, I am choosing to throw my inner peace away and then blame the world for stealing it from me. When I am tearful and overwhelmed, I am actively choosing to disconnect from those around me, and then acting as if no one could possibly understand what I am going through.

And yet, the answer is always waiting for me, and it is so simple. In any given moment, when it seems most dark and despairing, I get to choose to embrace myself with pure love, for whatever it is that I am experiencing or what I need. For me, self love, deeply loving and accepting myself, wherever I am at, allows me to see the world with loving eyes. It seems so much more complicated like that at the time, like I need the outside world to do something for me, to acknowledge that I am lovable and have true worth. But that isn’t the answer at all. The answer is me.

And I also believe that this is true for all of us as human beings. That when we love ourselves as deeply and consistently as we possibly can, we will embrace our peace. We will openly connect with the world around us. We will not be tempted to judge others or the world around us. For when we see ourselves with eyes love, the world around us will be a loving place, always.

Love, really, is all we need.

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I’ve got Problems.

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I am a pretty happy person, most of the time. I am grateful, I am joyful, and find a lot of fun and excitement in my world many of the moments of my day. However, I also have things that weigh on me. I have issues. I have insecurities that haunt me at times, and I talk trash to myself when I am feeling particularly low and vulnerable. To put it simply, I have problems.

We all have problems of one sort, size, or type on any given day. For me, the majority of the time, any problem that I run into I am usually able to solve on my own. I go through the options that I have available to me, or reflect on how I have addressed it in the past, and I take care of it. Yet, there are some times that I need to reach out and get support or suggestion from those around me.

Asking for help has always been a challenge for me. Mainly, this is due to the fact that I have always held myself to a pretty high standard, not allowing any room for error or doubt. This created quite a dilemma for me over my lifetime, in that I got to thinking that I had to be perfect, keep things in perfect order, all the time. So, when I would be feeling out of sorts, and like I was floundering a bit, I would not let others assist me, so that I would continue to look well put together, and like I had it all under control.

The truth is, we are all capable and strong human beings. No, we don’t always see it that way, but I often find that myself, and others around me, are much more capable of handling adversity than we give ourselves credit forever. However, there are also times when what we are handling, we just can’t get through easily on our own. Or, there are times when we may feel so overwhelmed that we want to give up, because we don’t see any signs of hope that things will change or improve for us.

So, this is a direct reminder to you all, that we all struggle. We all have our weights of the world that are lighter at some times than others. And, we all have strengths that we don’t always acknowledge, to address those struggles. However, if we need help, and we are in way over our heads, we are NEVER, EVER alone. There is always someone that will be there to support, assist, or just love us in the way that we are.

We just need to speak up and ask.

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Money, Money.

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My relationship with money since entering my adult years has been pretty problematic. Since I left home permanently, after graduating from college in 1984, and moved out on my own at the age of almost 22, I have destroyed any previous relationship that I had with money that was healthy and responsible. Once I began to take care of my own finances, on a full time basis, I created some new habits that I find myself still paying for today.

I started working when I was thirteen, willingly mind you. I wanted to get out into the world and make some of my own money, to save up and buy things that I wanted. My first job was vacuuming the rugs in a furniture store, every Saturday morning. Next, it was selling tickets in our local movie theatre in Keene. And, finally, the job that I had my senior year of high school, and every summer that I came home from college, was working in ladies fashions at the local Bradlees department store. I loved working all summer long, building up my savings account, and having my own money for the year when I went back to college every fall.

Once I had my first apartment, and became the source of my own sustenance, I got sloppy and impulsive with money. I would often spend my pay before my bills were taken care of. I was late on car payments. Then, I discovered this beautiful thing called credit, and started living as far beyond my means as my budget could afford the minimum payments. And, I rode the credit train for many, many years.

When I first decided to build a cleaner, more grownup relationship with money in my life, I was scared, and I was ashamed. At the time, I easily had $32,000 in credit card debt accumulated. I was afraid to ask for guidance out of embarrassment over my situation. I was able to pay the bills every month, but I never seemed able to pay much more than the minimum amount, and I kept using them at the same time. When I was ready for the change, I made it happen.

Today, I am still in debt. But, I have a savings account, with money in it. I am generous with what I have, to myself and to others, within my means. I have respect and love for what money can do for my life, and what it cannot. And, even when I want to worry about it, or feel like I am in a state of lack, I remember how abundant my life is, and how much I get to be grateful for in every moment of my life.

Today, I understand that when I embrace abundance, self love, and gratitude, that I will always have riches more than I can count.

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What’s Next.

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At the end of every summer, at least every one of them for the last few years of my life, I start thinking about the upcoming fall. I think that after fall comes winter, and in this part of Pennsylvania, we often start having snow and cold weather in October. I start dreading the end of the warmth and the beginning of the cold. I want to hold onto summer for just a wee bit longer.

Then, one day, I just realize that I am ready; that I am ready for fall to come. I am ready to bundle up a bit more, pull out my sweaters and watch for the first snowfall. I know when I am ready, when an acceptance and a letting go sets in for what is coming next.

This year, was no different. For the last couple of weeks, I have been realizing that fall is just around the corner, and I was dreading its arrival. Then one day this week, I finally realized that I was completely ready for fall to come.

I realized how often that in my life, and I believe in the lives of many human beings, that we resist, and try to postpone our lives, and feel like we aren’t ready for what comes next. For me, that has at times been the weeks before I changed jobs; left a relationship; or made some other life changing decision that I had known was coming but didn’t want to deal with any changes. Yet, when I would decide, and finally acknowledge the readiness within myself, then I would know that I could handle anything that would come my way.

Even though it is when I let go, and open to what is coming next, that I feel the most free and vulnerable, and ready for a new adventure, the resistance that occurs before that is essential to my learning as well. When I am fighting the lesson, and acting like I am powerless to making a decision, it is then that I reveal my true strength to myself, and the time when I get to really figure it all out. The whole time that I am afraid to open myself up, so much learning is taking place for me about my life and the direction I am steering it in.

What I am learning more clearly now, is that what comes next is always something that will bring deep lessons to my life, and that I would rather be present and open for those lessons then be scared and not available. When I open to my life, it means I am opening my heart more. And, when I open my heart more, miracles happen all around.

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