Bringing In The New Year With Some Good Ol’ Fashioned Cheer

If you love something, set it free. It’s something most of us have heard; this year has taught and reinforced for me many things and that is one of them. A few months ago, I wrote in a poem :

“It isn’t until you’ve been fully rejected that you can begin to fathom the possibility that you might be worthy.”

And ever since then I find that I keep coming back to that idea. Admittedly, sometimes I’ll put something out there without being totally convinced I have it right. Yet the truth–my truth–is that my whole life I’ve wanted to be made to feel by everyone I tried to love that I am worthy of also being loved. And too often I’ve been disappointed.

They say love is blind. But I don’t think it is love that blinds us.  It is need that distorts our thinking and ability to see things for what they are. After finally accepting being rejected by people I care for, I began to feel a sense of liberation. I don’t need anyone to tell me I am worthy. Love–pure love–can only exist where there is no need. My worth is inherent. And anyone who can’t see that is the one who is blind.

This year has been a series of losses, let downs, crises, and failures; full of moments and experiences that made me stop and think and feel quite a bit. I’ve fought, I’ve lost, I’ve moiled, and I’ve mourned. I’ve been challenged in so many unusual ways I never could  have prepared for or expected. I’ve had to let go of the life I envisioned for myself and my family in preparation for a life that was meant to be mine.   I’ve endured rejection and hardship so that I could discover the true meaning of love and freedom.

So many people I know have been going through the same things.   The struggle to accept our lives as they are, without need, without regret… this is one that few fail to fall into.  We all long for something.  We all look in all the wrong places before stumbling onto something right.  We all get desperate when a sense of control is beyond us.  We all want to belong.

But we also have to relinquish whatever it is we cling to if we are ever to experience pure peace. pure bliss. pure love.  We have to remember the light that is inside, even in these darkest of days.  I belong to myself.  And, I belong to something much, much greater than me.  I am a part of it.  You are a part of it.  It unites us in so many mystical and magical ways.

There will always be dark as long as there is light.  2016 was a dark year.  I’m hoping 2017 is accompanied by a lot more light, despite the cards stacked against it.  But I think no matter what challenge lies before us, loving our way through it is the only way to wholly overcome anything.

And so it is, as we reach the brink of both an end and a beginning, that I resolve to love and to let go.  May we all learn to embrace our dark side even as we welcome the light.  May we cherish the winter in spite of its storms while remembering the warmth that is promised.  And to the New Year… Cheers!

Dust Yourself Off Again

We try and we fail.  This is our constant sorrow, our never ending struggle, no matter where we are at in our progress or what we happen to be doing.  There is effort and yet over and over again, there is failure.  The longing to at last succeed is what unnerves us but it is also what drives us.  And this is how we are able to grow, ceaselessly and undaunted by the challenges in our lives.  In this way, meaning can be found in our mistakes.  In this way, we learn to love the process rather than cling to a desired outcome.  Because not everything worth doing is always done right.

I Think I’m Alone Now. But I Think That’s Okay.

I can see why some people just decide to spend their life alone with no one to share it with as intimately as you do with someone you love.  I can see why some people simply give up on finding someone and making it work.  I teeter back and forth with this idea.  And I’ve come to accept more than I ever have the possibility of being alone.  I’ve come to love who I am when I’m alone, which is to say I’ve come to accept that there is a lot about me to love, regardless of my relationship status.  And maybe… just maybe… that’s been the whole point of it all.

 

 

All The Love In My Life

This morning shortly after arriving to work I became fixated on something my 8-year old made for me when he was in preschool. To think that that was just over 3 years ago is bizarre. On the one hand it feels like just yesterday. But on the other it’s as though it were so long ago. Who I was then, where I was, what I was doing was completely different. And in that time my son has grown in so many of his own brilliant ways most assuredly.

heart

What the message reminds me of is a lesson I have found myself sharing with my son over and over and over again. Because yes, there are times when I’ll catch him feeling sorry for himself; he feels he’s been cheated out of something that someone else got and he didn’t. And what I’ll tell him is how important it is to focus on what he has instead of what he hasn’t got. It’s amazing to watch those little wheels turning inside his head as a shift in perspective begins to take place on his face and in the way he proceeds with his life. He moves on. He gets over it. He learns to appreciate what he already has instead of clinging to feelings of jealousy and insecurity. He remembers the love in his life.  (And the ice cream I just treated him to perhaps!)

There is something for me to take away from this, too. How often have I pined away for a love that couldn’t be reciprocated? How often have I wallowed in sorrow, loneliness, and discontent?  Or wondered why other people get to fall in love and live happily ever after and I don’t?  All the while forgetting–even deliberately–that I am already surrounded by so much love in my life.  And who am I to expect more than what is already given me?

renegade

I have been in the belly of the beast,
I have braved the greatest of storms;
both spat me out, sodden and worn.
I suppose my flesh wasn’t quite the feast
they were looking for–
Too tough, perhaps, not enough chew
in their bite;
it comes from being hung over the fire
and left there to die.

Many a time I have sat and I’ve waited;
night after night
I have cried and I’ve cried.
Overwhelmed by fright but certainly,
not overcome.

For here I stand before
my darkest hour,
face to face
with the death it assures me of.
Ready for another fight
because it’s my only option
as long as life
still promises the light
of day.

harrower

I assume too much. It’s a shield I wear to keep out all that can hurt me. Because when I bleed, I bleed for all; it’s not just my pain, but other’s suffering as well that I feel.

I bear too much. What a plight for one person to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. What a burden to know the sins of the pure; the shame in waking up to one’s consciousness.

Some choose to sleep. I wake to forget.

The delusions and solecism of yesterday are no match for what love has in store for this moment. And guilt is just a useless tool to keep us confined to the hasty habits of our blindness.

Intentions: Bringing Us One Step Closer Or Taking Us One Step Back

Good intentions don’t always yield the results we had hoped for. I found myself spouting this tidbit to a fellow comrade this morning, realizing the relevance it has had in my own life lately.

Rejection tends to leave one feeling broken, weak, and powerless. Instinctually, out of the pain and betrayal I feel, I want to hide behind my fear and anger. And I have done this. But once the dust has settled, once the storm is passed and I am back in touch with the deeper meaning of my life, I choose instead to express love, kindness, forgiveness. Because I believe those are the only things that last; certainly, they triumph over every misguided or ill intention I may have at one time harbored. And unquestionably they are what give my life meaning. I could choose to remain bitter, I could choose to disown those I feel betrayed by, to cast them out of my life like a thorn in my side. But all that does is increase the likelihood of eventually stepping on said thorn, creating more agony and turmoil for me down the road.

Ignoring someone who has hurt us isn’t facing our fears; it’s running away from them, especially when that person is trying only to show us the healing power of love and forgiveness. When we run from fear we run in circles, ending up always right where we started. Progression, growth, these things imply a linear movement forward or upward. They are also impossibilities unless we relinquish our fears and reach towards the light that is the extension of someone’s merciful hand.

Some motivations to express kindness are self-serving. Behind these acts there is a desire to get what we want, to feel better about ourselves, to feel less rejected. I’ve been rejected in love plenty. I now have what you would call a thick skin. You could set me on fire and I’d probably not bat an eye. And yet, to those who I have been hurt by and regardless of whether the same generosity is rendered to me, in the end I will always choose to extend graciousness and benevolence, not with my ego, but with my heart where the purest of intentions coexist often with the deepest well of sorrow and discontent.  And in this way, I’d like to think I am destined for growth and for true love.

Rules For Entering: A Mother’s Reflection On Matters Of The Heart

This morning before leaving for work I was struck by the sign on my 8-year old son’s bedroom door.  It was a list of “rules” for entering which you can see here:

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I thought it was a fine list of rules; he doesn’t seem to request anything of his bedroom guests that is too unreasonable.  Asking permission to enter, being kind, respecting his personal space, as well as his feelings and the times when he just needs to be alone… all good things.  What I was most intrigued by was the warning he attached below them: if you break the rules, you’re out.  No wavering, no mending, no talking about the problem. It’s a very move-along-and-don’t-let-the-door-hit-ya-on-the-way-out sort of mentality; Nihilist, even, black-and-white.  Fear ridden.  Destructive rather than constructive.

So while I was standing there reading the sign and having these thoughts I wondered, is that what my son has learned?  He’s seen me go through three relationships with men I invited into our home and our family yet who are no longer around, outside of his own father.  The other two just… disappeared.  Why?  Because they broke the rules, I guess.  And what were my rules?  Well, very similar to junior’s, actually:

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Seriously.  I asked for a donut.  Where the fuck is it?!  Right???  I think we all feel that way sometimes, or at least I have.  I just find it very interesting to see that feeling reflected here in my son’s rules for entering his room, his world, his life.  Poignant, symbolic, yes?  What I don’t know is how much of that is learned and how much of it is a natural part of being human and wanting to feel safe and cared for.  I guess if anyone regardless of their current situation or circumstances growing up can say that they would ask the same of anyone entering their haven, then we can all agree that these rules belong on every door to every heart.

Unfortunately, written within those rules there is nothing to be said of loving for the sake of loving; giving when you don’t want to give; learning what that feels like in the end.  Even though it’s challenging, there is no implication in such demands that believing the pain of loving without guarantee or restitution is worth it; there is no resolve to lead with love despite the fear of getting burned.

What do we do not only for the other person, but for ourselves when we allow someone in even when they’ve hurt us… upset us… didn’t deliver what we asked for?  I’m 34-years old and I’m still figuring this out; I suppose I can’t expect my 2nd grader to really grasp it yet.  But as his mother, his teacher, his guide, I see it as my job and my privilege to show him the power of love, forgiveness, and working through differences, even when someone we trusted enough to welcome into our lives has hurt us, gone against the rules.  We would all want someone to show up at our door bearing donuts, chocolate, and ice cream.  It’s just that, not all days are like that.  Some days it’s a pile of smelly trash, baggage you don’t care to deal with, and horse shit.

Throwback Thursday #3

Happy Thursday y’all! Time to throwback to 1997 once again…

******

Angel Falls

Look upon a sea of doubt;
of pain,
of fear,
of sorrow that lingers even after the tears–
Not one being lives without.
Nestled inside us each
there is a struggle within reach
awaiting a stronger hand
to carry all we hold.
For we’re bound by intimidation,
needless to say,
searching in darkness
without any light to help us grow.
What must there be
then to at last be free?

There are so many angels wandering around
hoping through life’s miracles they will be found.
To see them, you must look up high
for angels do not fall, they fly.
If ever you get discouraged by all of life’s mistakes,
just look to an angel for greater strength.

******

Whoever holds the key to her heart knows the depths of her soul and the inescapableness of her beauty that resides there.