Sunday, October 12, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me!

My birthday was this last Monday.  I woke up with a kaleidoscope of butterflies in my stomach.  These weren’t the frail, winged beauties of insecurity and fear that set up butterfly housekeeping for what seemed like too many years. This time the flutter inside, was a celebration of another year of life.  Time to get up and dance in the day.  Wow.  I’ve lived this long and gathered a lifetime of enough material to create quite a tome; part Running with Scissors, part Raiders of the Lost Ark, with a spattering of Nicholas Sparks-ish tear-jerkers tossed in for my  hopeless romantic heart.  A well-worn life for sure; comfortably broken in by now.  Through time and healing, the set-backs and suffering have become simply distant, impartial memories to entertain me in my rapidly approaching golden years. 

When the butterflies and I settled into a meditative state, I reflected on the extreme gratitude I feel to be alive after all these years.  Most of my family didn’t make it this far. A legacy of mean genes ended the lives of so many of my loved ones way too soon.  This left me questioning life’s fairness and a loving God. However, experience has also evolved my conception of God.  I no longer believe He sits up there doling out grace and mercy based on naughty and nice.  I’ve certainly pushed the envelope in my younger years, throwing caution and good sense off to the side in pursuit of exhilaration and adventure. The consummate rebel. A survivor.  Maybe it’s an extension of Grace that my Creator has saved me the heartbreak of dying with unfinished business at a much younger age.  I wouldn’t have to come back:  reincarnated, with a ginormous bucket list and a tick sheet of amends I needed to make.  I think my slate is clean now, and I’ve done about everything my heart thought I had to do - at least for today.  It’s been an extreme joy ride, although, I’ve been tossed off the roller coaster a time or two.  Looking back, even those periods when the shattered me was recouping and healing yet another failure, big disappointment, or  broken heart;  those moments  proved every time to be meaningful lessons I just hadn’t quite mastered, and a reflective time in my journey.  I have changed. 

I pondered what I would tell me a decade ago if I could go back and have coffee with my mildly neurotic, totally insecure, people pleaser self.   Then, I decided I probably wouldn’t change a thing.  It doesn’t matter that this past decade has really been filled with hair-pin turns and a few poor choices that frequently rendering me disoriented and confused, wondering what to do next. It forced me to surrender and listen to something other than a mind puffed up, engorged with ego.   The voice within taught me (eventually) to stop charging past the red flags which always led me into the abyss of magical thinking. This past decade of remedial enlightenment has revealed why I fall into that abyss time and time again.  Ego said, “You’re  smarter now, hold onto your flags, you’ve earned them.  Just jump over that hole.”   Inevitably gravity, sucked me back in and I fell further in as the hole had grown larger over time because I always had to dig my way out.  I hope I have finally learned the lesson, the hole will always hold the same things, darkness, and delusion,  even when it’s camouflaged under prettiness, promises and pretense. Recently, it’s been this simple.  Red flags are there to warn me of the danger.  Steer clear.  Hole ahead.  Walk around.  Do not look back.  There is nothing meant for me there. 

So, what would I say to this little self-proclaimed guru who wears all her flaws, fears, and feelings on her sleeves?  What didn’t she seem to know a decade ago?  

I would say, “My sweet love, heart of my hearts, a few tips to navigate the remainder of this precious life. I know you have your lessons still to learn, but if you can keep these in mind, you will live out your days with a peaceful heart. A peaceful heart intimately knows God.” 

  1. You will never be skinny enough, smart enough, pretty enough, clever enough, talented enough, or rich enough, to suit anyone else.  Stop trying.  Be enough for you.  You have been given everything you need to make your life here matter. 
  2. You were born with an internal GPS to help you navigate your life and decisions. Learn to pay attention to the directions it calls out.  
  3. The absolute most precious moments in your life will be the quietest and the simplest.  Treasure and live in those. 
  4. People will treat you exactly how you give them permission to treat you.  
  5. Sleepless nights and worry are the biggest waste of time. Drink hot milk.  Pray. Watch old episodes of Big Bang Theory.  
  6. Forgive. Forgive. Forgive.  Yourself. Everyone else. In that order.
  7. Just get started.  
  8. Right foot. Left foot. Right foot. Left foot.  This will take you anywhere you want to go.
  9. Begin your day with a gratitude list.  End your day with a gratitude list.  
  10. Dream more. It’s free. 
  11. Treat yourself like you would treat the person you love more than life itself.
  12. Share where you've been and what you've learned, without fear.  Be authentic. 
  13. Whatever you water and nurture grows - relationships, friendships, your attitude, blessings, and hope. Fertilize wisely. 
  14. Take just about everything you see and hear with a grain of salt. Trade in judgement for the faith of a grain of a mustard seed.  
  15. Pretend you are the Divine for the day, and look at others through That Pair of Eyes.


17.  Be your own guru.  This in no way diminishes contributions others can make to the quality of your life and your personal growth.  It means, learn to trust yourself.  Your Voice is important.  Honor what it has to say too.  

On to the next decade.  One precious day at a time. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

My Open Heart

This summer my husband would have reached his 55th year.  Celebrating a lucky double nickle birthday was not in his life plan.   We were together for ten years, sharing seven of them as husband and wife.  I like to think of that period as my Golden Decade; some of the finest years of my life.  Maybe there is some validity to the energy of Love being magnetic and attracting more goodness and abundance into our lives.  The deeper I seemed to grow in my love, respect, and gratitude for him and our time together, my exterior world of job and material possessions multiplied too.  Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I was swept away into this magical land of beauty and blessings... and disbelief.  On some level I didn’t think I was worthy. What did I ever do to warrant all of this and such a man?   For the first time in my life, struggle ceased and I had ... plenty.  There was plenty of money, plenty of friendships, plenty of good health, plenty of material possessions, plenty of love.   Most of all, there was a peace and the kind of encompassing gratitude that lingers like very expensive perfume.  I thanked my God, my deceased mother, and anyone else I thought might have been responsible for the end to years of struggle.  Eight years into our cocoon of comfort, dark clouds crept in, chilled the air and blocked the sunlight.  As he struggled to save his life from the cancer cells that invaded every organ in his body, cynicism and grief threatened to take my soul. I simply could not believe this could happen to such a good man and it shook the foundation of my belief in a loving God.  I prayed for his life, offering up mine as a trade off, but there was no bargaining.  I thought God had not only closed the door on me, maybe some archangel told Him of some long ago misdeeds and I was blacklisted from His Mercy and Grace.  I never lost my faith that there was a God.  He just appeared to have too much faith in me that I could handle anything tossed my way and He clearly wasn’t into negotiation.   My prayers and pleading fell on deaf ears.  God went silent. My heart did too. 

Years of confusion and grief followed his death, and I couldn’t make sense of anything.  I had this belief that goodness and abundance was based on behavior.  No matter how hard I tried, that philosophy wasn’t working for me.  I was a good person, giving and compassionate.  I worked hard, took care of myself and continued to expand my knowledge and ability to carry my own weight on the planet.  I thought I put into the world what I wanted to see reflected in my own life. However, a nagging discontent with life and struggle continued to invade my days; not enough - job satisfaction, money, contentment in relationships or, most of all, self-esteem. 

Sometimes there is a Holy purpose for our world to come crashing down in a heap at our feet.  Mine did. I was forced to simply stop and all outer worldly distractions went away.  Gone were the jobs, the relationships, and the money. Time to be still and just feel all the hurt and grief, lying in wait to be acknowledged.   It got quiet enough to hear my own voice inside my heart begging to be let out, if only for a time; just to feel the sunshine and witness the majesty of a starry sky. You can’t hold on to the past inside a heart padlocked for safe keeping and expect to dance in the adventure of life at the same time.  If even God isn’t permitted entry, how are new gifts to arrive? 

Trying to recapture the past and the abundance of back then, is like trying to harness the energy of the tides. Memories are fond rainy day diversions, not a way of life.  Meaning lives in the moment and flows from an open heart ready to receive what each minute has to offer, whether it be sorrow or joy.  Abundance shows up not because someone else loved us, or we loved our jobs, or we have financial security.  It arrives because we are savoring every day just as it is, with a heart wide open, seeing it all through the eyes of Love.   All the gifts of the spirit reside there.  They flow outward in a Love that spills over into every aspect of our lives.  I cannot earn my way into this kind of abundance through responsibility, education, and good behavior.  An open heart, filled with love; offering love and accepting love back, held the keys to my Golden Decade. I’ve found the keys and unlocked my heart.  I plan to keep it open, no matter what.  

This summer, after many years of being tucked away for safe-keeping, just like my heart, I discovered our wedding rings,  I took them to a jeweler.  I wanted them both made into a single ring; a remembrance.  His band, was to encircle my finger as a whispered reminder that love always holds me close; both he and God.   My band, was to be molded into the shape of a free-style heart, scattered with the diamonds.   Each one symbolizes the extraordinary love already existing in my life.  Our rings and my heart are no longer padlocked away for old memories sake.  

I prefer living with this open heart, letting life feed it with whatever comes my way- joy, sorrow, prosperity or poverty.    I know what I had before, and all the important things in my life, grew because of that energy of Love and Love can only  flow into and from a heart wide open.  I am learning to savor the sensations of this vulnerable, open-hearted living and experiencing a new kind of abundance.  My prosperity is not limited to a single Golden Decade.  As long as I keep my heart open, every moment of my life is spun into gold, scattered with diamonds. 

Monday, June 23, 2014


You can know the truth of something so well, yet, be unable to apply it to your own life.  This seems to be the case for me and a little  left-over negative energy from the past.  All it takes are even a few small drops of negativity to slowly seep into the pores of a life and like a petri dish that reproduces more of whatever is placed in there with it- it grows and festers.  Soon,  it's out of control and you don't have big enough tools to  stop its progression.

 I've been weaving in and out of forgiveness for way too long. As author Anne Lamott calls it, Forgivishness. It's been a half-assed, people pleaser, goody two shoes kind of forgiveness.  I have learned,  a shattered heart heals.  I think it's because God lives there and pieces it back together with his love.  A shattered ego is harder to fix.  Maybe that's the point.   Let it be, this self-righteous ego.  Leave it lying in a mess on the ground humming some sad old twangy tune of being done wrong while it wraps itself up in a poor little thing cloak.  Maybe it's just time to sweep up the ego; sweep it all up,  into a dustpan and toss it out into the ethers.  What purpose does the ego serve other than as a barrier to a loving God who wants to do so much more for me than I am capable of manipulating together for myself.  He sees the big picture because He's already painted the big picture.  Without the ego, I might  not only accept that, I could be at peace with it too.

I always try to ask myself, what is the point? What is the take-away lesson here?  What am getting out of this?  Being human and feeling the range of emotion - from joy to rage, to extreme suffering is the point.  It's our catalyst for growth and change. We don't grow just because we thought about it and think it's time.  We grow because its too painful to stay where we are standing.  Being human and feeling all that indignation and shame and those other unholy terrors -  they lets us know when its time. If we don't hear them, they curse and scream at us until we are on the brink of crazy.   Time to grow.  Time to give up.  Time to accept.  Past Time to forgive.

I live quite a lot from my head.  I do learn some things from that space.  However,  my emotions are a better teacher.  I have learned that.  Suffer long enough and I'll do anything to set myself free.  So, I decided it was a matter of life or death to just forgive.  Even if in my head, I didn't mean it right now.  In my heart I needed to mean it.   Even if I didn't really want to because I was so justified.  I just kept mouthing the words- I forgive you.  I forgive you.  I forgive you.

Somehow, my words became one with God's. You must forgive so that you can live.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Word of the Year 2014 - A Final Examination and More Honorable Adieu to Examining My Unexamined Life

I slammed my beloved blog closed on my 60th birthday.  No graceful departure.  Apparently, I gave no real warnings to my readership.  Surprisingly, I heard about it from some family and friends and people I only knew through the blog.   I didn’t realize anyone still read it! I thought it had run its course as all things in life seem to do.  Unless, we are of the mindset to fight change and make ourselves miserable. Some of us do that you know. Hang on for dear life to things that aren’t meant for us, serving us well, or simple ignorance in knowing maybe there is something more, meant for us.  I lived like that once upon a time.  More recently though, any examining, as well as writing, screeched to halt.  It wasn’t deliberate.  In the midst of several life altering events, there wasn’t enough time, or maybe, it just wasn’t important to me anymore.  I was blessed to finally move forward, literally and figuratively.  I might have even been enjoying the severing of a few ties that had wrapped their tentacles first around my heart, and later wound up around my neck. Being where I was, seemed to be choking the life out of me. When I got out of examining my head (and  left Dodge), I felt like I could breathe without the searing pain of remembrance and too much stress. The only thing I was planning on writing on any agenda, if I had to have one,  was the word, enjoy.  That’s how I wanted to live now.  In Joy.  My idea of a perfect day was to gaze into the moment, cross-legged, inhaling the healing breaths of gratitude, feeling them seep into my weathered spirit.

On some level entering a new decade of life AND changing residences, I might have even unconsciously wanted to break free from anything (my blog)  that could tie me down or put me in a vulnerable place again.  Good grief, my blog opened me up wide.  And once I started, I couldn't stop.  While it turned on the lights to connection and authenticity, it also laid the groundwork for rejection and judgement. I had placed myself into a position,  more vulnerable than I ever have been. With anyone. Ever. And, through it all, writing the words; cracking the code on what made me tick,  I grew and I healed.  

So, how dare I not honorably acknowledge the end to my tiny, insignificant musings into cyber space.  If nothing else I thought later, it provided at no cost, (except for my own embarrassment)  an avenue for free therapy.  Spewing my insecurities and dysfunction into words rather than private thoughts,  was highly cathartic and gently ushered in clarity.   A surprising off shoot  was some new, like-minded friends, who were grateful they weren’t alone in their perceived flaws, and found a voice through mine. There are few things better in this life than intimacy.of the soul.  The kind that makes you realize it is safe to be who you are because we really are all alike and connected. 

Another gift, was my miraculous and growing awareness to some of the secrets to living well, while in this body, on this earth.  I made it a mission through prayer, quiet time, and my words, to learn (often relearn)  some of those lessons I have now come to realize are just a part of my life plan.  Aka: God’s Will.  I learned how to listen.  I learned how to be alone.   I learned what doesn’t kill you, sure does make you stronger, but it doesn't need to make you meaner.   I learned how to love myself without expecting outside reinforcement in order to feel loved.  I discovered how worthy I am, always.  I learned how to accept, not always graciously, that whatever happens, happens;  and it is up to me how I choose to process it.   Most of all I learned that so many of the gifts I have been seeking, rest in my own little hands.  I choose my happiness.   I am in charge of CREATING the life I want to live.  

So, it just seemed natural to make my word for 2014, CREATE.  

My ah ha moment arrived with a sweet little silver turtle I received this Christmas as a gift.  On it’s back, in a rainbow of colors, were the words, Enjoy the Journey. Contained in the simplicity of this message, was a big discovery.  It has been a journey.  My blog. My life.  Even in the darkest hours when I couldn’t see any purpose or joy, the journey was still progressing.  It was still there, extending the hand of love and understanding.  True, sometimes it seemed halted,  slowed and hidden by the clouds.   But,  those were often of my own making.  I chose to wear the shroud that kept me trapped in grief, loss, fear, and lack, rather than remembering the things that were treasured and holy.   When I began to understand this, when I knew I was the force behind continuing misery, I was then able to move on, further into the mysteries of God’s will for my life.  

In 2011 my word of the year was BLOSSOM.  I did.  I worked hard at discovering my unique talents, my purpose - through meditation, prayer, and connecting with my Higher Power. I invested time in me and in Him. He showed me how to move through the clouds by always remembering the sun.  It's still there, even if it isn't shining.   In 2012 my word of the year was FREEDOM.  Once we know who we are and love ourselves, we are free.  Others opinions, words, and approval is not important. I set myself free that year.  In 2013 my word of the year was FEARLESS.  I have always been a bit of a risk-taker.  This year I was fearless;  moving out into the world as an authentic me, taking charge of my life, asking for what I needed and wanted, opening myself up honestly, and actively pursuing what was good for me.    How perfect then is the word of the year for 2014 to have bubbled up as, CREATE.  It’s just another exciting project on my journey.  I am responsible for CREATING the life I want to see and live.  I am responsible for my happiness, success, and peace of mind.  What a beautiful word for 2014 and to end this blog with.  CREATE.   I can almost hear all of those who love me; the living and those in heaven, breathing a sigh of relief and whispering, “I think she gets it.”   

Thank you dear Examining Blog for guiding my awakening life,  and handing me the keys to enjoying my journey.   Happy New Year.  Happy New Life! 

P.S.   Oh, yes, I am forgetting the most important reward of this little blog.  It appears I am no longer ruled by the opinions, motives, likes, comments, shares and approvals  in order to know that I am really a writer. A damn good one.  (Well, a little honesty here I do believe this.   Most days.) I know it is a gift that I am called  to share with others. The only voice I keep tuned into now,  is the One within. The only like I need is the contented feeling that burns in my heart,  knowing it's my best. For today.     With that being said, I think I just might start a new blog someday.  I will call it- Too Soon Old... Too Late Smart.