Life is for living

Live dangerously. Take chances. Dream. We all come into this world the same way. We all leave it the same way too. We are born and we die. We know how it begins and we know how it ends, why not make the middle more interesting? That’s the living part.

I’m tired of living vicariously through others. I want my own adventures, my own chances to fail. I want to live for the sake of living. It’s interesting, coming to the end of my school career. I’ll be a licensed pharmacist by this time next year. So what am I going to do with it? Who am I going to be? How do I want my life to look in ten years? five? three?

It’s easier to know what I don’t want than to know what I want. I don’t want where I’m at. I don’t want to get up, go to work, wish I was off, go home, go to sleep, and get up and do it all over again. I can hear my ‘friends’ saying, “but that’s what growing up is all about”. I can hear them saying, “get over it.” But I don’t care what they say. I don’t want that and so I am not going to put up with that either. I can hear them again, “you’ll learn” and totally discounting me, thinking I’m naive and that I just don’t know anything.

But I do know. I do know a lot. I’m not a kid, I’m in my 40s. I’m not naive, I have an incredible grasp of life. Maybe that’s the problem? Because I have such a grasp of life and because I understand how amazingly fragile it is, maybe that’s why I refuse to let it slip away unnoticed. I refuse to give up or give in. Not ever, never again.

I will not let my life go unnoticed. I will not let the days slip by without recognizing the love and the pain around me. I write. I write to save my memories and to remember my dreams. So what do I want in the next few years? Freedom, peace, adventure, love. I know something others around me don’t realize. I know that people do live lives they love. I’ve met them and I want to be like them. I’m not saying I don’t love my life now, I’m saying that I am not content to let it be this way forever. I am content that today I will go to work to learn and that I will be challenged and tired. I am happy to do that today. Even tomorrow and so on for weeks, months, maybe even years. What I am not content to do is allow my work life to be my only life. I will play and I will live.

thank you for reading,

me

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Going it alone

“Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

– Robert Frost

I’m at a new crossroads. The one on the left is full of possibility, it looks bumpy but it could lead me to a place that is full of wonder and delight. The one on the right is predictable, it looks rough and rugged but I know where it goes. I have to choose. Left or right?

If I choose left I go on my own. I have to rely on me. Only me. I have to trust myself and my abilities to pull myself out of the mud. I have to prove to myself that I am capable beyond what I believe.  The possibilities of an amazing life and future follow this path.

If I choose to take the path on the right, I get more support. I get to stay in the safety of knowing things will be fine. I get to rely on others and allow them to help me make my decisions. This isn’t all bad. The path on the right will lead to a good future, one that is predictable.

But the path on the left? It could go poorly. It could lead me through many, many trials. Trials I have to pass on my own. Am I strong enough? I don’t know. I’ve made it this far.

The right? It might go poorly, but probably not. Except, I’ll never find out how great I can be if I choose that way. I won’t have to deal with the extremes and it might be better than the one on the left, especially if the left path fails.

The question is am I willing to settle for “fine” or “good”? Or am I willing to challenge myself for a chance of “great” and “excellent”? What do most people choose? Most people choose to do the path on the right because it requires no work. People have given up on dreams and are “too tired” or “too old” to try anything new.

I know which path I’m going to travel. I know that I cannot settle. Already my life is amazing compared to a few years ago there’s no reason it cannot get better. Instead of thinking I’m in my 30s or my 40s, 60s, 80s… try thinking I have 70, 60, 40 or 20 more years yet to live. I haven’t even lived half of my potential life span! Why would I give up now?  And yes, I said “give up” because settling is quitting. And quitting is giving up. If my heart is beating anyway, might as well make it worth the while.

thanks for reading,

me

PS. The path on the right is a lie.

Life is Short

Life is short. It’s precious and it’s so easily lost. Today was a day to remind me. I came across a motorcyclist accident. He didn’t seem OK at first. But by the time the EMS arrived he was talking. I wonder what he will do with his second chance on life? Will he go out and bike again, only more safely? Will he bother buying a better helmet, one with a face shield? There were so many people there but only a few were willing to get in and get dirty to save his life. Will this young man, who could have easily met his creator today, decide to live life to the fullest from here on out? Will he decide to take his life in a direction that could lead to new things? New purpose? I wonder. I hope so. I hope he decides that with this second chance he will cherish his life just a little more.

Or will he, instead, become scared of living? Will he decide that life is too dangerous to get on a bike again? Will he become scornful and forget that his life has value? Will he give up on life because it seems too fragile? I hope not. This seems to be what so many others have done. There were many people there watching the few, or just waiting. Were these people scared to help or did they just not know what to do? I hope they just didn’t know how to help and so stayed out of the way because someone did know.

After leaving him with the EMT, I took my children on to their father. I hugged them both tight and told them that I love them. I know that life is precious. I have not forgotten. I will not forget. I’ve lost many of those I love and I know that I will lose more. I don’t want to, but life is 100% fatal. Life is so short. Remember to live.

thanks for reading,

me

Creating Purpose

I’m in a place where things are changing very rapidly.  As things change I wonder what it will look like in the future, and whether I can create a future that I love. I know that each day I live is a miniature of my future to come.  I have no control of the future and so if I want my future to be excellent then I need to strive for excellence each day.  Each morning is a new opportunity to live an amazing life.

What is an excellent day, then?  What does it look like?  Waking up energized, ready to face my day. is a good start.  Knowing what I want from the day, what I want to achieve by the end of the day, helps too.  A good day requires my basic needs to be met – food, shelter, clothing.  In the United States our bare minimum is actually greater than the daily lives of the majority of people in the world.  This means that those needs are likely met well.

What I have the most control of is myself, not my surroundings.  So I need to decide how I want to be.  How do I want to behave? Act? Live? Think?  What are my morals? Beliefs? It would be nice if those questions were easy to answer.  A lot of what I believed in the past was just plain wrong.  Creating new belief, though?  That’s an interesting proposition.  I can’t just take the opposite of the past, that isn’t actually how I want to be.  Morals?  I know these are a part of my beliefs but I feel that fundamentally these are still mostly unchanged.

What I do know is that I want to help others.  I want to show people that they can be, and are already, beautiful people.  I want others to see their own worthiness, their own greatness.  I want them to see the miracle that they are.

As I went through each step these last few years I had to search for support, and many times go it alone.  I would latch on to a single idea.  I would believe that the future had the possibility of being better only if things changed.  I didn’t go so far as to believe that it would be great but now I do.  Now I know that my life, and yours, is a matter of what we make of it.  We are amazing human beings and we have the ability to change our world.

I want to be able to shine a light on the darkness so that others can climb their way out of their own dungeons.  I want so much to lend a helping hand for those that need it.  I do this, by writing, by encouraging, by showing others that there is hope.

May each morning be a new beginning to a wonderful future for you.

thank you for reading,

me

 

Standing at the Gate of Hell – Part 2 of 2

Story – Part 2 (I went ahead and put the rest here, it’s a little longer than part 1 but I didn’t want to put it in 3 parts.  Thank you as always for reading!)

Many people would listen to this and say this is really depressing.  She must be really depressed.  Why not just give her some drugs and send her home.  Obviously she looked depressed when she was out and about.  Right?  No, you’re wrong.  She didn’t know she was depressed about anything, well she did.  She just avoided the subject.  Because, you see?  This woman, she has a beautiful smile.  And she still doesn’t believe that she deserves to be pitied or felt sorry for… she doesn’t want any of that.  And so all the people around her, aside from a very few, had no idea that she was living in hell.   But what do you do? What did she do? She accidentally got some help. It’s accidental help?  Really? Or is it a letter from God? God doesn’t like people living in hell.  They say that God is love, but God does have one thing that he hates, he hates hell.  He hates evil.  But she didn’t know that, she did.  She got a letter from God.  She didn’t know it was from him.  She just thought she was being silly, or smart.

She didn’t know what she was doing.  But she knew she didn’t like this life.  And so she reached out to so many places.  Just a little comment here and a little comment there. Just to see what would happen, to see if anybody would stand up and find out more.  No one did.  Not at first.  No one bothered to find out more.  She’d say a little something, but mostly people would say, “ oh, that’s rough” and move on.  No one ever tried to get to know her heart, to find out just how badly she was hurting.  So what did she do?  She went to see somebody who actually works with folks personally on their lives, by accident, on a whim.  For no reason at all.  All of a sudden, someone listened.  All of a sudden, someone understood.  She’d tried that.  She’d tried several times to find that.  She had no idea what she was in for after that.  What he told her was, his job is just to listen, to say what she says, help her to see things from a distance.  Because as he put it, if you’re standing with your nose against a wall, you can’t see the giant building that you’re in.  Or in my case, it was a prison.  I had no idea I was locked in a jail that was in hell.  So she talked.  She tested.  She let a little of the truth out, a little more.  A little more truth now and then.  She was scared.  She still is.  Scared out of her mind.

So what does she do? She realizes her problems, sort of.  What does she do? She learns that she deserves to have love, to feel love, to be loved.  She learns that she deserves to take care of herself because she wants to be healthy and strong.  She learns that she’d been living a lie for years and years.  She cries a bunch.  Sometimes she has no idea what she’s doing or going to say, or going to see, or going to do.  What she does do, is she learns about herself, she learns to like herself.  Not in a “she’s better than you kind of way”, but in a “she’s just as good as you” kind of way.  All she wanted, all she needed was someone willing to listen to her ramble.

So what happens to the girl who can see that she’s standing in hell?  You don’t get to leave hell, not just leave, you have to walk out.  It’s not an in or out kind of thing.  You have to walk out.  But you have to be able to see where you’re going sometimes, at least a little bit.  For years all she knew was that something was wrong, and there was some stupid reason why she didn’t want to go home.  That’s all she knew.  The further away from home the better she felt.  The calmer she got.  The happier she would be.  But, the closer to home she got, the worse she felt.  Like a pendulum, back and forth, back and forth , back and forth.  And always, always, always she had to go back home.  Always had to go back home because home was in hell, and she thought she deserved to be there.  She was wrong.

So what is hell? Chaos, hate, fear, abandonment.  What is hell? Her home, for years and years.  But, when she started to get to know herself, she started to see the big picture. She started to see what hell was; that it was limited, it was very limited.  She started to get out of the grasp of the devil.  He kept grabbing for her, kept on trying to drag her back in.  He just couldn’t get a good hold on her anymore.  She was slippery.  He’d grab her and pull her in and she’d slip out again, back and forth they went.  The devil trying to keep her in hell because she belonged to him, he thought.  But no.  She was getting slipperier, and slipperier.  She was getting smart too, and so she would just stay away.  She became more and more scared about going home, because she was away so long.

So what’s not hell? What is it? What is her hope? That finally started to develop? Her hope for freedom, for love, adventure, life.  So she started to act a little different, because the devil had brought her down, down to the depths to almost nothing.  She didn’t even know who she was anymore.  But hope, hope started to bring her back out, not love really, because there’s really nothing different. All right, maybe a little bit of love.  The love she started to have for herself, that started to grow, just a little.  A little each day, one step at a time, she started to walk away.  She started to walk away from hell and the further she got the more beautiful life became.  She started to see the green trees, and the blue skies, the sunrise in her eyes.

She started to feel again.  She did not like that, because feeling hurt so bad.  She didn’t want to feel anything ever again.  But she started to accept that in order to feel wonderful, and to feel loved, and to feel great, and to love herself, that she had to feel the other stuff too.  She started to learn that feeling was OK and that her feelings were something she should trust.  Let bad feelings remind her that’s the wrong direction and good feelings, that’s the right direction.  She really didn’t believe that she should trust how she feels because she’d been lying to herself for so long. Funny, she always felt that honesty was the most important trait of all and she spent twenty plus years lying, to herself, to her friends, and her family, and her coworkers, and strangers too.

So what did she see? That little bit of hope. The birds flying, birds flying?  Such freedom that they have, birds,  They’re so free.  They go where they go.  No cage.  No dark corners to hide in.  No reason to go cry in the closet so no one could hear you scream into a pillow.  How many times has she gone to a corner, or in the bathroom with a pillow, just to scream into it where no one could hear?   The pain that she did not want to feel ever again.  The reason, the reason she never wanted to feel anything.  “Better to feel nothing” she said.  “Than to feel that.”  And so she didn’t feel anything.  She quit loving, she quit hating.  She just breathed.  All she did was breathe.

So what was her hope? She always believed in God, he answered her prayers frequently. What changed?  Her hope, she had lost hope.  What is hope?  What did she hope for? Would it ever come to pass? There she is standing, right there at the gate of hell.  The door’s wide open.  She looks out and what does she see? What does she see at the gates of hell? She sees pain, crying.  She sees sickness, heartache, cancer, death. She needs to turn around and look the other way!  On the other side of the gates of hell, she sees love.  She sees hope, freedom, health, adventure, happiness.

Standing at the gates of hell, why doesn’t she walk through those gates?  How does she walk through? You see, the devil is a little tricky.   Because what he does, is he lets her see that at the gates of hell once in a while, and then he drags her back in.   But he doesn’t have a good grip, she’s slippery now.  But he does have a grasp of her.  What does she have to cut off to lose that grasp?  Her leg?  Her ankle?  Because it feels like he’s wrapped around her ankle, trying to grab her and bring her back in, trying to get a hold of her hair so that she can’t get away.  And she can see the gates of hell now, and she can see through them.  She knows she’s going to walk right through.  On the way to the gates of hell, to get right through, to cross that border, is a hard thing to do.

Why is it hard to walk through the gates of hell?  To walk out of hell?  Why would that be hard? Why would anyone think it’d be hard to walk out of hell?  Because the devil is a trickster, a liar and a thief, and she has been tricked, and lied to, and stolen from for so many years that she doesn’t know what to believe.  Is that really the way out? Or is there more hell to go through?   In her heart she knows its OK to go that way.  But in her heart, in her mind, in her body, she also knows that as soon as she starts to take that step through the gates of hell?  The devil himself will be there, tearing at her, clawing at her. He will be pretending to be nice if he has to.  One minute screaming and yelling, gnashing his teeth.  The second minute, telling her how sorry he is.  How he wishes so badly that she wouldn’t leave, that he loves her.  But you see the devil doesn’t even know what love is, the devil has no idea what love is.

The path through the gates of hell is not something you just walk through.  She has to learn to love herself enough to grow through them.  She has to learn that she is worthy of a great life.   She has to learn that she is capable as well.  Walking through the gates of hell is something she has to do alone.  Not completely alone, but it’s something she has to do and no one can do it for her.  She has to take the first step, and then the second and the third steps.   And if she has to she has to walk faster, jog, even sprint through that gate.  The grasp of the devil will loosen because of her growth.  She has to learn to listen to the good and to quit hearing the bad.  She has to be honest with herself, truly honest.  She has to strengthen her core so that she can see the lies for what they are.  Going through hell is hard enough but getting out of it?  Nearly impossible.  Completely impossible if she ever gives up.

But as I said in the beginning, this woman is stubborn.  She’s more stubborn than hell could ever be.  Because of her curse, her gift, she will someday find herself free.

Thank you for reading,

me

PS. She is free from hell now.  The journey was long and hard, but oh so worth it!

No More Silence – Finding Freedom

Let me tell you about my daughter. She’s about 27 years old now I think.  Her birthday may be coming up soon, I forget.  Regardless her age, she’s beautiful, she’s smart, intelligent, and full of life.  She got married a few years back and she has a beautiful baby girl and a boy who is about to turn 3.  She’s happier than she could ever be in her life right now.  Her soul has touched thousands since her conception.  She has had friends in grade school, high school and college and she even went on to get a master’s degree. I don’t know what it was in, though.  It doesn’t matter because she’s happy.  She’s in a good relationship with a great guy.  She helps make me the great mom that I am today.  I guess she learned a thing or two from me because I can see that she’s also being great with her own kids now.

When she was younger she had a few hobbies going.  I think she  really enjoyed running, climbing and being outdoors. She does like to be outdoors though, probably because her mother always made her go outside to play.  I always send my kids outside to play.  She’s pretty well-rounded… I know I’m a decent mom and I know that I have let her make some mistakes but I wouldn’t let her hurt herself too badly because we all learn from our mistakes. She loves staying home with her kids too.  I loved that too. I totally wanted to be with my children more than anything in the world. You couldn’t pay me enough money to make me work so that I would miss my children growing up.

My daughter is a huge part of who I am.  I loved her the moment I met her.  Her soul has marked so many.  Many have no idea that she’s even left her mark.  Her mark is on me, for this I am tremendously grateful… it is on her siblings, her father, and her grandparents too.  Sometimes her mark is a bit hard to see but that doesn’t mean its not there.  Her mark has been stamped on dozens, maybe even hundreds of people.  Her soul has touched at least that many and more.  The very fact that I have the honor of being her mother, even through all of my failures, I thank God for daily.  The fact that she has impacted more lives than she will ever know, I wish she could understand.

I would love to show her how her very existence is a blessing.  All women, children, all people, should know how very much they mean to those around them  All should have the opportunity to realize their own power.  As I wait and wonder, I can see her potential.  I want only to bless her in a way that allows her voice to be heard.  I want to help her become known for the beauty and the gift that she truly is.  I want others to see her as I see her.  I’m not blinded by love, I know she has her faults… I know that I do as well.  But I may be blinded by love after all… because I know that she has good too and that that goodness, that greatness, deserves to blossom.  I wish you could meet her,  my angel.  But you can not,  for her life was but a wisp in the wind.  Her impact,  global. She, and her brother,  have continued to live on despite the world’s forces to prevent their growth.  Their lives were but a breath of air,  their souls eternal. I miss them daily,  hourly at times…yet,  in their memory I live. I can see their impact,  feel their presence.  I know that I only see but a tiny spark of who they are,  who they could have been…I know,  though,  another thing… my love for them has never waned and so I want to celebrate them for who they were,  who they are, and who they continue to grow to be. They grew inside of me and were taken from me physically,  yet their souls joined forces with mine and together our souls have moved mountains.   The future holds so much possibility it is hard to imagine. To be understood, and to understand, are gifts that many have no idea how to give.

My children give me life.  All of them, some continue to breathe and some don’t but all of their beings are an integral part of who I am.  I have been silent for too long.  Silence kills.  It has been killing me years.  It has been preventing me from taking a stand, from helping another.  I have been angry and hurt, guilty and withdrawn.  These emotions have not empowered me.  They have caused me to stop myself.  The emotions have ruled for too long.  My choice now, to speak.  To truly speak what needs speaking and to do what needs doing… this choice is by far one of the most terrifying and most freeing choices I have ever made.  Life.  I want to breathe life into those who surround me.  I want those who know me to truly embrace their goodness, their love, their lives… their power.  There is no room for silence any longer.  Silence is a disguise, a shadow.  Silence prevents people from taking a stand for what they believe in.  Silence hides secrets… and secrets kill.  Secrets took the lives of my first two children… the secrets of rape, of abuse, of family, of fear… When a mother’s children are dying she screams for all the world to hear.  She fights for their lives.  She begs for mercy from God, from others… She finds the strength to do things no one ever thought was possible.  But if there are secrets… and silence… then there is death.  Stop the silence.  Scream.

me

Life and Death

I have always wondered about life and death.  I’ve considered both and what they mean.  Living?  is that Life?  Dying is that death?  I’d hazard a guess, no.  Just because your body is breathing and because your heart is beating and because your brain is performing functions, that’s not living.  And death?  Death is what people think of when all of those functions stop.  But my thoughts? no.

Living is when you get up in the morning and you cannot count your blessings because there are too many.  Living is when you are willing to be hurt in order to be happy.  Living is when you use your brain and your body and your heart and your lungs in order to dream, play and love and cry.  Living is when each and every day is a blessing, whether disguised or not.  Living is recognizing that you are in fact alive and not just a random robot performing predictable, habitual activities every moment of every day.  Living is thinking outside of the box, trying new things, loving even when it hurts.  Living is caring so much that you feel powerless.  But living is Not powerless.  That would by dying.  Living is full of power.  The power of knowing emotions that have so many names that you never say your “OK” anymore.  You feel what you feel.  You feel anger and hope, love and despair, excited and bored.  Living is knowing that pain actually has its place and doesn’t have to be avoided.  Living is learning new things.  Living is the power to make life meaningful.

Dying on the other hand is quite different and more common than living.  The person who gets up in the morning, drives to work, works all day, drives home… only to sit in front of a TV and then go to bed and do it all again… So many people have no life at all.  These are the dying.  These people have given up on living, it was too much work.  These are the people who grow “old”.  Or think they are old at 30, 40, 60, even 80.  These do not realize that life has opportunity, even as we age.  Dying is waiting until some future that never comes before doing something you love.  Dying is giving up on being healthy.  Dying is never trying to excel anymore.  Dying is pessimistic, vile, and ugly.  Dying is accepting the fate of the doctors rather than fighting for life.  Dying is sitting in the dark waiting for sleep to come, wondering why you even bother anymore.  Dying is giving up.

I found myself dying.  I had just the tiniest spark of life left in me.  When I left my house for a time, a weekend away… that spark would ignite again.  But just as soon as I returned the spark would nearly vanish.  This scenario repeated over the years until I started to feed the spark inside more.  This tiny little spark of life, of hope finally began to flame.  The fire inside of me grew over the next several years, scorching the despair, scorching the cobwebs in my brain.  This fire grew and grew until I was finally able to break loose of my chains.  Chains that wanted to drown me.

The hard thing about living is that living has extremes.  Living has hate and love, fear and peace.  Living hurts.  Living allows pain to have its place, but with pain comes happiness.  Living is hard.  It’s easier to ignore your feelings, it’s easier to stay with the devil you know.  Living is scary, too.  Living means going into the unknown and trusting that it won’t at least be worse than what you do know.  It means trusting that there is a chance now for something better.  Living has hope.  Living means you allow yourself to be vulnerable.  So many who are dying have built fortresses around themselves in the hopes they would never feel again.  But I learned something today.  I learned that those fortresses don’t stop the feelings they just don’t let you define them.  Instead of feeling the pain you feel tired.  Instead of hope you quit before you start.  Instead of being vulnerable you feel lonely.

I enjoyed my fortress that I had built.  I enjoyed it so much that I protected it, guarded it.  I let no one know who I was.  I refused to allow the slightest hint of vulnerability.  Now, though, with my vulnerability I feel fragile.  My walls are but crumbles of ruins now.  My feelings are so many I cannot even count them.  In a single day I may feel sad, happy, angry, lonely, scared, tired, exasperated, love, hope, despair, loneliness, pride, peace, and even hate.  Being alive means feeling the extremes and accepting that they will pass and return again.  It’s hard, it’s scary, it’s wonderful and it’s worth it.

Are you alive or are you no more than a robot pretending to be alive?  Are you willing to take the chance again?  Are you willing to let your walls down?  Allow the possibility of peace and love and adventure again?  Yes, you might get hurt but pain is so much better than nothing at all.  Are you willing to trust yourself like a child does?  Children are the best at being alive.  Be like a child and trust your heart again.  We adults trust our brains too much.  Your heart will not lead you astray.  It may lead you to things you’ve never thought of before, it may lead you down roads you’ve been scared to go… but it will always lead you in the direction you should go.  Is it easy? No.  Is it worth it? Absolutely.

Thank you for reading,

me