I Am Hopelessly Flawed.

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I have always enjoyed learning something new. And, most recently in my life, I have come to deeply appreciate when I have personal breakthroughs. I have not always appreciated this, because to have a breakthrough to me, meant that I had either hurt someone else, been hating on myself, or learned the lesson through some other difficult or painful means. I now understand that the most painful lessons for me bring the most brilliant recognitions in my life.

I have always sought in my mind to be a perfect human being. I always wanted to look just right; lose the right amount of weight; measure my foods in precisely the right amount per portion. I always wanted to be right on time for work, for play, or for an appointment. I always wanted to know about everything that someone would ask me; I would want to be the expert in any field of study. I wanted to be the best friend, mother, sibling, daughter, and co worker that there ever was.

I guess there is no harm in wanting to be the best at something in life. The problem has been for me, that being the best was an obsession for me. I saw myself as having to be perfect at everything, and when I wasn’t, I would criticize myself, or the situation. It would bring out the darkest, most undesirable parts of me, my traits. 

We all are made up of various traits and characteristics, that make us who we are. The ones that I tend to focus on are the ones that are most appealing: being kind; loving; compassionate; forgiving; patient; open; and honest, for a few examples. Yet, there are other traits that are always present within me that I don’t like to acknowledge live in me. And, when they show up, I get scared. I get defensive. My fists come up. And, I criticize and berate myself for having them appear; it is some of the darkest moments of self loathing for me. So to say that they live in me has been a challenge during most of my life.  Here are a few of my top traits:

I am a know it all. I am controlling about the slightest detail. I am judgmental to anyone who isn’t as “evolved” as I  am. I am arrogant. I am naive, to the point of feeling offended when my illusions are shattered. I am bossy. I am not willing to be a team player. I am dramatic. I am a gossip. I am stubborn about looking at things in news ways. I am unforgiving and resentful. I am selfish about my own needs. And no doubt, there are more that I could list here. 

These traits aren’t always how I am in the world, yet they do live in me. I was recently reading a book by SARK in which she was not only listing her various traits, she was celebrating them!  I was stunned, amazed, and confused. Why would one want to focus on them? Why not focus on the positive parts of ourselves?

I came to understand why a bit more deeply this week. I know that I have these traits that I see as more negative, and I am even pretty savvy at catching them when they pop up in my life and my relationships, at least most of the time. And, I most often choose the more positive, loving traits in my world. But, even if I didn’t choose those more often, I realized, SO WHAT? Really, so what? Loving myself means loving all parts of myself, the parts that I praise and the parts that I loathe. The Light and the Dark; they are all me.

Today, I am renewing my commitment to letting go of perfection and embracing my Perfection as I Am. Even though that may sound like the same idea, with the same word, it is completely different. It is the difference between conditional love, the need to be a certain someone in this world in order to love and honor myself; and Unconditional Love, the loving, honoring, and Celebrating who I Am, in all of my delightful, human ways. It is the difference between living according to our domestication, of how we have been carefully taught; and living in accordance with our true nature, our deepest, most authentic self.

Today, I announce, declare, acknowledge, and Celebrate every aspect of who I Am.

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Grief.

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I have spent the last several days experiencing and thinking about grief. About what it is, and what it is not. About my own grief and how I express it, now in my life, and in the past. I am amazed and at peace at what I seem to be discovering.

 

When I was in college, my grandmother, my father’s mother, died after being ill for a long time with cancer. I had spent school vacations at her home for years, kept her secrets of eating forbidden foods at lunch, and laughed with her. I was so sad, and hurt, and lost when she died. I didn’t want it to be true. I didn’t want to care about college classes anymore, for months. I thought about her all of the time and couldn’t envision a life without her physical presence in it. 

 

Ten years later, my older brother died, after a long illness. He lived on the west coast, so he was far away and I hadn’t seen him in years. Our relationship had been very close for a period of time in my life, but his last few months had been strained between us. I was the person that he had his caretakers call to report his death. It was surreal and a deep hurt. I grieved in many ways when he died. I cried, a lot at first. I felt guilt at our being somewhat estranged. I felt anger that he had me be the one that had to tell my parents that he had died. And, I felt like a martyr, in a way. I wore my grief like a shroud, feeling very embedded in it. That lasted for a long time. 

 

There have been many persons that I have known since then, friends or family, that had died. My responses to each one have been different. Yet, none so different as the deaths of two persons in my life in literally the last three weeks. First, my beloved aunt, my aunt Ruth, who was as close to me as a family member as my own parents. She lived with my grandparents when I was growing up, and I spent those school vacations with her as well, and many happy times after that. I would go up to her house for a weekend, just to spend time and talk with her. Her heart was so open and filled with love. I thought she would be around awhile longer, if not forever. Her death has been hard to bear, although manageable at the same time.

 

Only a few days after her death, my father in law, my wife’s father, died. I had not had the opportunity to build a longstanding, deep relationship with Ben, but I had felt a deep fondness and love for him, and enjoyed our times together. He gave Brenda away at our wedding. He had many of his own demons, yet I saw the light in him that was love, even though he didn’t see it in himself, it seemed.

 

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What grief represents to me now in my world is much different than I have ever experienced before. Even though we may share grief and the expression of it with others that are close to us, grief feels very personal to me; meaning, my feelings of loss are not going to be like anyone else’s about the person, as no one else’s will be like mine. In essence, I can feel whatever I feel, without any need to compare myself to others. I get to just move through it in the most loving, gentle way that I can. I also don’t feel like I have to express it in any certain way. Whatever seems to help me and bring me comfort and support feels right.

 

Grief also looks like Peace to me now. I don’t know how to best explain that, except that even when I am sad that my aunt Ruth is gone, or longing to spend another day with Ben, I feel at Peace when I accept things just as they are. Accept that they are absent. Accept that I miss them at times. Accept that life will go on without both of them in this physical realm. Letting Go and Acceptance bring me Peace. Bring me comfort. And are deep expressions of Love for me.

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Please, help me.

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I have defined myself as a helper for most, if not all of my life. From an early age, I wanted to always help others, and to give them gifts and special things. It isn’t something that I necessarily thought about, it just felt as if it lived in me as part of who I am. This giving and offering applied to my family, friends, and strangers. As I got older, it felt like a longing that meant that I wanted to choose a career in which I could offer myself to others. To me, that meant social work. And, although I have loved what I have done as my career all of these years, I don’t seek so much of myself in it as I used to in the past.  As a social worker, and a counselor, I have come to find it quite normal to always focus on what others need, or how they are not capable of taking care of themselves, and require my assistance. I see humans as much more capable than I used to, so I feel less needed to provide a service, but rather, see in them the ability to help themselves.

 

Another aspect of who I have been in my life, is that I rarely have asked for help for myself. Not only do I offer to do almost everything that may be required in a given situation, I rarely ask for others to actively help me. And, if I am in a bad situation, it is often not my comfort zone to ask someone to assist me. 

 

One area that I find it interesting is in how prayer has been present in my life as I have grown. When I was a child, and even in college, I would enjoy going to church, participating in the structure and tradition of it all, with prayers and song. I loved that I knew the prayers by heart, and would enjoy reciting them in unison with others in the church. I even prayed at night, or various other times, to God, as I knew of it at the time, for help for others. I never, ever asked God for help for myself. To me, to ask God for something that I wanted, or needed, was selfish. Was me asking God to give me something that I should be able to take care of myself. In other words, God was not responsible for my happiness or relief; I was. 

 

Letting go of the belief that I am solely responsible for the happenings of my life, without the need for others to assist, has been a challenge for me. Mostly, in the area of where God, or Spirit, fits into my life. I would rarely remember that God, or Spirit, is always with me, and I am always part of it, and it is there as the purest form of who I Am. And, there to assist, guide, and support. Yet, I am beginning to understand how important that is right now for me. Being able to say to Spirit, please, help me, to see this situation as it is. To let go or surrender. To remember that I am resting always in the Peace of God. That this is just a dream. That the form does not matter. These are the parts of my daily living that feel most challenging, and yet, I still believe that I need to solely rely on myself to remember. 

 

Most recently, with life form situations that have happened in my world, I have remembered with more frequency to call upon Spirit for help, when I am in a moment that does not feel peaceful, yet I am longing for peace. I am aware that I am not choosing Peace, and yet, need some assistance in choosing Peace. That is when Spirit is right there, for me and with me, to hold me up and remind me, gently and lovingly, what Peace feels like, and that I always have help in choosing it. That I am not in ever in this alone; that I am always held by and watched over by Spirit. That all is well. That Peace lives within me. And Forgiveness. And Love. And when I cannot remember to choose them, it is a beautiful comfort to know the help that exists to help me choose.

 

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To Ruthie. With Love.

 

 

Keep Letting Go.

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My young adult son has been going through some deep emotional struggles in the last couple of weeks. He reached a point that felt like a bottom of sorts; a feeling of being in a pit that he did not how to get himself out of. My deep, raw, maternal instincts kicked in, not only because he asked for my help, but because he is my blood, my being, my child. So I went to him, helped him through the darkest parts, and stayed close by to be near as he healed. 

 

At various times over the last two weeks, I have felt like he was a small child again, and I was his protector, his guardian, his mommy. That has shown itself in various ways, in me breaking down in tears as I saw him at his most vulnerable; feeling lost, alone and afraid about what might happen next; wanting to clean his house, buy his groceries, and take care of his every need. I would feel it, resist it, and feel it again. It was like one of the most intense roller coasters that I have ever ridden. 

 

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And today, I am getting off. 

 

Today, I go back home to my world, the life that I have built with him, and since he went out on his own. I feel scared, and sad, and worried as his mom. I wonder if he will be okay at moments. Yet I know that he will be. I see him as capable, and free. And I know, that any time I hold tightly to him, or anyone, that is Fear showing itself. And, although understanding and accepting Fear can help with self love, compassion and understanding, I still get afraid. And, I keep going forward. Keep remembering that feeling fear is normal, and that I will always encounter it in my life, I feel certain. Yet, to release it is a gift.

 

Letting go is always hard for me on and off in my life, with family members, friends, co workers, even in traffic. Letting go has been hardest for me in the last nineteen years as a parent, as a mom. A small being that is so vulnerable that you have to protect them from everything, who keeps growing, expanding and evolving and becoming more self sufficient. More independent. They not only grow up, but grow away. It is beautiful, and scary at the same time.

 

Yet, in that time, we have built beautiful bridges and structures of Trust, Love, Forgiveness and Understanding. That is what we stand upon now. I have come to deeply appreciate how capable, strong and willing my son is to grow, to heal, to keep expanding and loving himself more and more. And, I will probably continue to have lessons in my life of when I hold on tightly, and when I need to let go, again and again.

 

This morning, I see clearly the beauty in the Letting Go. The Freedom that it allows us both. The capability that we both stand in. And, I embrace it with open arms.

 

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Love Letter to Myself.

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Dear Vanessa, 

You are Beautiful. You are a radiant Light, and I am so glad that you are finally seeing, and shining that Light fully in the world. Of course, I have known it lived in you all along, but I knew you had to see it for yourself. Now, that you have discovered what was always there, there is no stopping it. Your Light is a beacon, a beam in the darkness when hope seems lost. It is ever present and will never leave you. Welcome to your own Loveliness.

 

You are pure Love. You have known this about yourself in glimpses here and there, yet I sense a major shift in the past months. You now know and understand that pure Love isn’t quantified by how many people you have in your world, in whether or not you are in a romantic relationship, or even if your relationships are going well. Pure Love never ends; it exists and lives within you and pours from you. It needs no reason for existence and it is eternal. You are pure Love.

 

You are Forgiveness in the making. I know that Forgiveness does not always come easily for you, mainly because you struggle with forgiving yourself. You are Perfect as you are, and when you see your own perfection, you are able to see the brilliant perfection in others as well. Forgiveness is easy when we understand that we are not flawed in any way; we are perfect, just as we are. I see you deepening your understanding and acceptance of that, and I see your ability for Forgiveness when you think that you fall short. Keep at it, my Love. It will get easier and easier.

 

You are both Universal and Unique. I know that you have often felt like an oddity in this world, like no one could possibly “get” you. So strange that people were uncomfortable around you. Of course, that was just your story you told yourself, as a way to keep you small and feeling like a victim. You are Unique, beautifully, wonderfully unique, in how you see the world, interact with it, and show your colors to it. And, you are Universal, part of the whole tapestry of this Life force. You are an essential part of it; your uniqueness adds to the radiant beauty of the whole entity. Remember that you are both and keep Being exactly who you are.

 

You are Perfect, Beautiful, Love, Forgiveness, Universal, Unique. You are all of these, and you are Beloved for it. Always remember, in every moment, in every breath that still lives within you, that you are Love, and Loved, beyond any measure.

 

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