Monthly Archives: January 2009

Please, send hugs!

Hello all:

I am unable to post more today, because my mind cannot focus.  A friend of mine told me this morning that a former coworker of ours, Tom, took his own life yesterday.  He cried out for help and when it was offered, he decided that he just didn’t think he was worth it.

I am saddened and shocked.  I didn’t know him well, but I knew him, I worked side by side with him in families’ homes that struggle through life.  I always knew that he had a hard time of things, but am so sad that he thought that there was no other way out.  And, that he was that alone in the world.

So, please, send up any prayers and thoughts that you can spare, for Tom and anyone that he leaves behind.  And, send as many as as tight of hugs my way as you can.

My heart hurts.

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Parachutes

There are so many different things that I have learned over the years in my life.  How to say no.  How to let go.  How to feel connected to the people and world around me.  How to love myself and know that it is okay to put me first.  How to grieve; how to laugh. 

One of the hardest lessons for me in life has been being self-protective.  For me, to dive in to the water, head first, has always been how I have conducted the business of my life.  Now, that does not always have to be a bad thing.  But, what has made it challenging in the past, is that I have dove into the water not knowing how deep or shallow it is; I have gone head first into situations, saying “yes” before I ask any questions.  Giving fully of my time before I realize how far I will be overextended.  Giving of my heart, freely and willingly, before I know how much of myself I am sacrificing without getting it back.

In my present life, right now today at this moment, there are so many things different about those past scenarios.  First of all, I ask A LOT of questions now.  Even if I do say yes to a commitment of some sort, it is not without asking all of the vital questions:  how much, how long, when, where and how.  Some of those things are just aspects that can’t be known, but I have learned that I deserve to know what is in store for me, to the extent that I can know. 

I also state what it is that I want, firmly and definitively.  I have allowed myself to speak up, to say what I want with confidence and conviction, when in the past, I have considered what is best for the other persons involved, always before myself.  I don’t know that I put only myself first all of the time, but I at least keep myself in mind from the beginning of any new endeavor or situation.  I have invited my dreams back into my life; allowing myself the creative mind to imagine all of the possibilities.  If I can see it, I can be it.

With my heart, I have become more wise.  Not cautious.  Not guarded and wary as much as realistic and prepared, as much as I can be.  My heart has not only been broken in this life, it has been shattered, more than once I have to say.  I know that I will have many more hard falls in this life, because when you are learning and growing and adventuring, you are bound to have some mishaps.  This lesson was one of the most difficult for me to learn.  Not because I didn’t have many opportunities to learn it; rather, because I have never wanted my heart and soul to become hardened in order to protect myself.  My greatest fear about becoming more aware and self protective, is that it would create me into a cold, unapproachable person.  I have never wanted to be that way, so in my growth and change, I needed to be able to let the love in, but also, be safe from those that would want to take the love that I have to offer it, and treat it disrespectfully.

So, during my walking and wondering in the snow yesterday, I figured it out.  I used to be a person that would jump out of planes, or jump off of ledges, and hope that there was a cushion, a trampoline or safety net, that would break my fall.  Often, there was not.  Sure, I survived the jump, but not without damage.  And tears.  And complete heartache. 

So, I have since put on a parachute.

My parachute is my faith, my hope, and my self -love.  My parachute is multicolored and bright, and strong and sturdy and with me at all times.  I don’t have to stop jumping off ledges, or jumping out of planes.  I am just protected now.  And, I always have a safety net on the ground, just in case, which is my family,  my friends, my passion. 

So, I am always equipped to save myself, but just in case, I have others, people and values, that will break my fall.  This isn’t to say that I don’t feel afraid; for even with all of these protections in place, the fear of jumping into the unknown is present; in spite of that however, I also feel the thrill of jumping into my future, floating down into my destiny………..

Did you pack your parachute today?

Passing it on, paying it forward, or regifting……..

I was invited by members of my church congregation on Saturday to attend a leadership conference for the local Methodist church leaders.  I had not been sure if I wanted to go, to give up a Saturday, at least part of it, with my girls.  I am on a couple of committees at our church, and I have recently been named Christian Education Director, which means I get to facilitate Sunday school and vacation bible school.  For those of you that have been reading me for a bit of time, you know that the journey with religion in general, and with this church in particular, has been challenging at times.  We all but left the church six months ago because our beloved pastor was moved to another congregation.  The new pastor isn’t bad; he just isn’t her.

However, we all as a family, decided that 2009 would be a year of recommitment to our local community congregation.  So, in that vein, I decided that I would go to the leadership conference.  It was held at a local church to us, very small and old.  It was going to assist me in where to begin in my new educator role in the church.  Teaching is not new to me; teaching bible verses and stories is.  However, I was undaunted and looked forward to the new information.

What I didn’t expect, in the midst of materials and conversations, was the power that being in their small, old sanctuary at that church would have on me.  We opened in their church, a small building with old pews and beautiful woodwork.  For the purposes of our training day, there was a large screen projection television at the front.  It was showing short film clips about how to recreate the Methodist church, and its meaning in our lives.  To get back to basics.  To work together.  To reframe what church means besides being a building.  I was glued.  I was moved.  And no other moment existed except right then and there.

I was emotionally raw for the remainder of the day and evening.  It was hard to describe, even to my beloved, why the impact of the words and images were so strong.  The renewed focus that the film talked about was missionary work; working toward eradicating diseases such as HIV/AIDS in the world; hunger; poverty; growing our congregations that are slowly dwindling; ministry to children; and embracing others in their diversity and difference.  All speaking to me, speaking to my heart.  It was hard to speak of it without feeling filled with emotion, without the tears sitting in my eyes.

As I reflected on the day, at first I thought that the impact was so profound because I had been in the presence of the Lord, felt Him and his angels close in the church, and that was what moved me.  But, I realized that it was more than that; I feel God’s presence everywhere, all the time.  His presence there was no fuller to me than anywhere else.  Then, I realized what it was.

You see, lately, every day, I see myself more and more in front of groups of people, by the hundreds, delivering a message and speaking to them in a very personal way.  I see myself having a direct impact; I hear my voice, I feel my arms wrapping around someone in a massive bear hug; I know what is coming for me, and I know that it is big, bigger than I ever dreamed possible.

Sitting in that sanctuary on Saturday, being surrounded by so many like minded people, and hearing the words on the video that speak to everything that I am about, I felt it deeper than I had yet.  There are big, great and powerful things in store for me. 

And, it absolutely overwhelmed me.  All I really want to do in this world is make a difference, touch a life, help someone in some way.  I want to keep passing on what I have learned, what I know in my heart as truth, pay it forward and see it continue without end.

So, any gift given to me that enhances my growth, you can be certain that I will gladly regift it, to every one of you, and every other human I can possibly encounter in this world.  Life is much too short to keep all of our gifts and treasures to ourselves; we need to share them, pay them forward, and give them to those that truly need them.

This is my mission, my work, my life, my purpose.

Dreams

I feel bubbly, light, and so hopeful and renewed.  Our new President, President Obama, has been sworn in and begun the tasks at hand.  He inspires and renews me, with a sense of purpose and drive, and creativity, and HOPE.  Not as a buzz word, but hope as it truly means, that the future is bright, that today is good, that whatever we want from life is possible.

Talk about being a dreamer.  Dreamers get a bad rap I think.  I gave dreaming a bad rap years ago, when it became apparent that I needed to be living in the real world:  parenting a child; being a partner; having to work a couple of jobs, if not more, at a time to make ends meet.  Paying two mortgages for a year.  Getting through grad school.  Work demands.  Health demands.  There was no more time for the dreams of the past.  I had let them go, and without resentment, I just didn’t think that I cared about them anymore.  I guess because I didn’t.

Thankfully, as I have written about here, I woke up from that stupor.  I realized that no matter what demands we put upon ourselves, or the outside world puts upon us, there is ALWAYS, ALWAYS room for our dreams.  And, if we say there is not, then we are sadly depriving ourselves of joy.  Plain and simple.  Who said that to possess a dream means that it has to come to fruition in the moment that we dream it?  That is to what end I diminished the need for my dreams in the past.  I told myself that I didn’t need to hold onto them if I wasn’t fulfilling them at that moment.  I was sadly mistaken.

However, no room in my life for regret.  So, several months ago, I got back to the business of dreaming.  And, I don’t just dream, I am making my dreams real.  Much like President Obama.  Much like many of my friends here.  I am living my dreams.  Every moment of every day.

What are those dreams?  Dreams of world peace. Dreams of connecting with the world on a very human level.  Dreams of writing a book, starting a business.  My biggest dream?

I am going to change the world, in a big way.  I am going to touch it ever so gently, but firmly, so that my presence here will never be forgotten. 

I am going to hug and console and greet as many humans as I possibly can.

I am going to still my soul and be as peaceful within as possible.

I am going to work out of my home, care for my animals, and have as many family moments as I can fit in.

I am going to live every moment of every day of my life, not waiting for my dreams to happen, but as if they already are.  That is, to truly live.

I think this post began as being about our new President because, I had forgotten about how essential our dreams are to our life, to our literal survival.  I wrote a poem years ago, actually twenty five years ago, while I was in college.  Although sitting here I do not recall its entirety, what I do remember is this:

If you are to survive,

then you must first dream.

For it is the dreamer that strives for the impossible,

while the realist struggles with the possible.

So true. 

Hope.  Audacity.  Tenacity.  Honesty.  Curiosity.  Diversity.  Change.  I see all of these aspects as essential to pure joy in life.

But none of those can be without our dreams.

Live the life of your dreams, NOW!!!!!!!!!!!

Holding my breath

I have been continuing on the road to keeping a healthy body to go along with my healthy mind and soul.  So, I am eating healthy, learning how to maintain my weight loss, and exercising, by walking several times a week, or exercising indoors, which I will begin with a group of friends at work this week.  In addition, I wanted to add some strength training exercises, and since I get bored easily with floor exercises like sit ups, push ups, and the like, I decided to add yoga.

Yoga is something that I have kind of resisted for many years.  Not because I have anything against it.  Not because I didn’t think it could be beneficial.  More because I didn’t want to do it, just to say that I do yoga.  I have known so many people that seem to be doing it, going through the motions, but don’t find much meaning in it.  I have read and heard that it is a great way to keep our bodies strong, and also a great way to gain focus and clarity.  So, I found a DVD and book at the store to begin with it just a bit.

The positions are difficult, I will give you that.  Not just because they are a bit awkward at times, but because I need to become more flexible as I improve, so I cannot extend as far as I would like- YET.  But, the part that I find most fascinating and compelling in the sequence of yoga is the breathing.  It makes such a difference if one is in sync with one’s own breath to go through the yoga moves.

I know that I tend to hold my breath, when I go through exercise, when I go through my day.  I hold my breath when I feel tense, when I am focusing on something, when I am distracted or impatient or annoyed.  Hence, the more tense that I get, the more that I hold my breath, which makes me even more tense.  It really doesn’t do anything to help me get more calm and serene, holding my breath that is.  Unless, I am holding and releasing purposely, to cleanse from within.  I am trying to be much more aware of my breath, and how I use it to focus and to redirect my energies.

I am coming to have a newfound respect for breath, and for not holding it without intention.  Meaning, draw in a breath, deeply, hold it for  a few seconds, then push it/let it out fully.  It is amazing what that can do for tension in the body.  Holding the breath, breathing in a shallow manner, or holding it, letting out a bit, holding it again, just keeps us so pent up within our bodies.  And, when our physical bodies are tense, so does our attitude and emotions tense up as a result.  One directly affects the other at all times in this system.

It got me thinking about life.  Are you going through your daily living, by holding your breath, tense and uptight, not sure of what to do, who to love, where to go?  Are you scared of what might be coming next, afraid to breathe a sigh of relief, and to release the tension in your life?  I have come to have such a profound appreciation of the focus and perspective that I am gaining.  To be aware, in each moment, of my breath and where it is at, and then to use it in a way to let go of all that keeps me stuck, keeps me uptight and holding onto parts of my life that I have no control over, yet keep me tense within my being.  I find myself to be releasing more and holding less.  It is so freeing.

I know in this world, there will always be situations that frighten, that give pause, that create a situation when I need to be on my guard and alert.  But, I want more often then not to approach those moments with more calm resolve, to be ready with an open mind and heart, and not close off because I am too tense to be in the moment.  I want to release what is keeping me back, not because it is “cool” to do some yoga moves, but because it holds meaning in my life and helps me to just live a more focused and fulfilled life every single day.

So, stop holding your breath.  Let it out, then draw it fully back in.  Slowly, methodically, and be aware of how it helps you to let go of all that you store up within.  Find in this moment all that will help you to find appreciation for all that you are and all that you have. 

Ahhhhhh………………………………………