What are we doing here?

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We’re all just walking each other home. ~ Ram Dass

I saw this on FB yesterday and I just loved it.  What an intriguing answer to the question of ‘what are we doing here?’ and such a lovely photo of an autumn path.  It called to me so I thought I’d share it with you as well.

Doesn’t Ram Dass’ quote make it all simple?  And it really is when we strip away all the nonsense that keeps us up at night.  Imagine if you could take all the people in your life and just see them as folks who are just walking home with you.  Wouldn’t you be able to let go of all that annoys you and just allow love for all?  So why not take this moment and do just that?!

We are all just walking as well as we can on this path of life.  We sometimes lose our footing, stumble and even fall, but with help from our inner spirit, God and the outstretched helping hands of others, we can pick ourselves up and continue walking.  Sometimes we can only manage baby steps, while at other times, we can skip, run and even dance!

Letting go of shoulda woulda coulda’s and allowing yourself and others to just be themselves may not be easy for you, but to release judgement and to allow forgiveness is beneficial to you and to everyone else on the path with you.

So today, let’s experiment and just try to view everyone this way!

Shine On!

xo

The Real Things in Life

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“The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.”  ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

Say what you will for there will be those who disagree with me.  It’s a choice in how you view your world and the changes which arrive at times when you least expect them and when they are less than favorable for change.  But the choice remains yours alone in how you view the real things in life for they don’t change.  What are the real things in life to you?  What matters most to you?

I like the above quote for no matter our circumstances we can find happiness in the simple pleasures and they are what count.  Boil down what matters most in life and what you believe is your heritage, what you leave behind as your legacy, and you can find what is real.  Fame and fortune while nice to have, are not real to me.

A life filled with goodness, love, faith and mercy.  Finding happiness in the simple pleasures is what I’d like my legacy to be.  A life filled with respect, kindness, integrity and an openness to love and to forgive is what I strive for in my life.  I am not so dense as to think I can tick off this list easily.  Quite the opposite.  I believe that it is a conscious effort to choose how to live each and every day.  It is the sum of these that I share as my hope-filled legacy and memory after I am gone.

I love Laura Ingalls Wilder and spent many a Sunday night cozy in bed with my Mom and Sissy as we watched Little House on the Prairie.  I think that this quote is simple and true and thought provoking to some.  Perhaps it resonates with you as well.

May you find peace in suffering and changes.  May your life be filled with liquid moments of friendship, connections and love.  May you build a sturdy bridge from here to eternity and may you meld with love in all you do.

Shine On!

xo

Take the First Step

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“The first step towards getting somewhere

is to decide that you are not going to stay

where you are.” – Unknown

I always think of Monday being the beginning of the week.  I know it’s not how the US calendar is set up, but it is always how I’ve felt.  Perhaps it is my faith ~ ‘For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.’ ~ Exodus 20:11  Or perhaps it is from living in Europe that I have adopted this thought process.  Either way, for me, Monday heralds a new week ahead for me and I delight in the newness and possibility that shines.

Staying in place and not growing where you are planted is hard to do.  Blooming where we are planted is what we are supposed to do, but what happens when the bloom falls off the rose?  What happens when where we are isn’t allowing growth?  Recognizing this is step one.  Taking baby steps when you know you need to grow is step two.

But taking the leap of faith that acknowledges that where you are is not where you need to be can be a struggle.  There is a numbness in staying where you are comfortable and not reaching out towards the light of growth.  There is a stillness here which once we acclimate to, makes it harder to move on and think about what excites us and what makes us grow as a person.  There are levels to which we grow accustomed and many times we fight the growth which leads us to higher understanding as an individual.

It is exhausting to walk untethered when we have been partnered for a long time.  It is confusing as well until we acknowledge that we are not in a good place anymore.  It serves us not to fight the tides of change.  I am a planner and it is hard to simply stand still and be while changes swirl around me.  But it also gives me time to think, to reach down into my psyche and reconnect with the gal I know inside.  That is growth while standing still.  I may be in the same place, but I am changing within, adjusting to circumstances of which I have no control.  I can only control myself and I choose to do so with kindness, love, respect and affection.  For I am still me and it is who I am innately that I bring to the forefront in my life.  It is the survivor in me, the one who peeks out from behind those proverbial rose-colored glasses and actually sees the situation at large and who has decided not to fight the tide, but instead, to go with the flow for my own sake as well as the sakes of others involved in my life story.

I admit it is innate for me to look to the sunshine, the dawn and the dusk for tranquility.  I am the one who searches the sky for the rainbow after the thunderous storms.  I hold dearly the love in my heart and freely shine my self-knowledge on those whose hearts are open, willing and able to accept me.  I knock tentatively on the closed doors even when I know a heart beats on the other side, too still to accept more than a crack of light.  It is ok.  I am patient and I know what others do not.  I sense sadness and defeat behind the closed door.  I sense the lock and key there.  I have been behind the closed door myself.  Only the key-keeper can open it when ready.  It takes time.  It takes patience and understanding.  It takes a village and sometimes, the key never turns in the lock.  That is a choice.

But I am beginning to walk on the path alone, surrounded by love, light and tendrils of friendship which support me.  Unafraid, I do not seek shelter, but instead, I take baby steps into the sunshine.  All that is required is baby steps of growth without time limits, without restraint.  I settle my feet on the path before me and listen to the crunch of the fallen leaves of hopes and dreams past.  Head held high, I step forward knowing that as the seasons change, so must I and I welcome my loving being into the sunshine.

Shine On!

xo

P.S.  Thanks HAngel for the photo. ♥

 

 

Perfectly Imperfect

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“Perfectly Imperfect”

Below is an excerpt from Steve Maraboli’s book entitled ‘Life, the Truth, and Being Free’ which I recently found which has helped me to understand the life changes I am enduring.  Although I haven’t read the book, I found this tidbit to be comforting in my journey.  Perhaps you will find a nugget of understanding here too.

Shine On!

xo

 We have all heard that no two snowflakes are alike. Each snowflake takes the perfect form for the maximum efficiency and effectiveness for its journey. And while the universal force of gravity gives them a shared destination, the expansive space in the air gives each snowflake the opportunity to take their own path. They are on the same journey, but each takes a different path.
Along this gravity-driven journey, some snowflakes collide and damage each other, some collide and join together, some are influenced by wind… there are so many transitions and changes that take place along the journey of the snowflake. But, no matter what the transition, the snowflake always finds itself perfectly shaped for its journey.
I find parallels in nature to be a beautiful reflection of grand orchestration. One of these parallels is of snowflakes and us. We, too, are all headed in the same direction. We are being driven by a universal force to the same destination. We are all individuals taking different journeys and along our journey, we sometimes bump into each other, we cross paths, we become altered… we take different physical forms. But at all times we too are 100% perfectly imperfect. At every given moment we are absolutely perfect for what is required for our journey. I’m not perfect for your journey and you’re not perfect for my journey, but I’m perfect for my journey and you’re perfect for your journey. We’re heading to the same place, we’re taking different routes, but we’re both exactly perfect the way we are.
Think of what understanding this great orchestration could mean for relationships. Imagine interacting with others knowing that they too each share this parallel with the snowflake. Like you, they are headed to the same place and no matter what they may appear like to you, they have taken the perfect form for their journey. How strong our relationships would be if we could see and respect that we are all perfectly imperfect for our journey.”

~ Steve Maraboli from Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Grab Your Journal – I have a New Challenge For You!

Image by Lisa Holloway

 

Good morning!  I just had to share this blog post in hopes that it may resonate with you as well.  I’ve been writing in a journal for the last 9 weeks and it has changed my life in ways that I never knew existed.  Perhaps you’ll be drawn to grab your journal now and follow along!

Stop by Nicole’s blog (link below) and tell her I sent you over!

Shine On!

xo

 

Grab Your Journal – I have a New Challenge For You!.

Live and Let Live

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“You gotta live and let live.” ~ My Granddaddy

My Mom told me this quote today that her Daddy used to say.  He owned a general store in a small college town in South Carolina when she was growing up.  Many times he came home with something other than money for the items he sold at the store.  Her mama would get a few chickens instead of money to feed 9 children, but she always made due.  She never argued with him because he lived by his philosophy above and she was able to get eggs and eventually a chicken dinner out of the payment rendered.

I think it’s a good reminder to us all.  Not just in the bartering sense of business, but in life as well.  We cannot control others with whom we have a relationship.  When one person decides to change their way of life, we have to roll with what is happening.  That’s not to say be a doormat or allow any abuse.  But what it means is that you cannot hold someone else back from what they want in their lives.

And that is not easy to do sometimes.  It is a progression.  It is a moment by moment respectful decision to allow another person the freedom to live their own life as they choose for we cannot choose it for them.  We need to concentrate on our own lives and live the best we can with what we have.  Be truthful, be fair, be kind, be respectful but the ultimate decision is only for us to decide in our own lives and not in someone else’s life no matter the relationship.

Time and time again, I have had to learn this lesson of releasing and allowing even when I thought that the person was making a mistake.  To be fair, I have had to love others from afar, be there for them when needed, but not interfere unless I thought it was a life threatening situation.  We are all our own life keepers and we are responsible for our own decisions, actions and words.  We are responsible for our own relationships as well.  Yes, I am ‘my brother’s keeper’ but I am also my own life keeper.

As parents, we are responsible for our children.  As time goes on, we may also become responsible for our parents which can be tricky.  I’ve learned there’s never a good time for change and that life is all about changes, twists and turns in our journey towards death.  We can only be the best person we can be at any given moment and hold fast to our own faith, hope, love and in turn, give out what we give ourselves.  Nurturing myself and others with kindness and respect for their decisions is the only way I know how to survive and it is a daily choice for me to continue as I am.

I’m just me and it doesn’t serve me to lash out in anger and resentment for life choices that are not my own.  So I continue treading on my peaceful path, knowing that this is a growth period for us all.  That I must ‘live and let live’ so that I can find the love and happiness I deserve and allow others to do the same.

Perhaps you have had similar experiences in your life.  Please share what has worked for you in case it is helpful to me or anyone else in this situation.  We are all connected.  We help each other grow and learn and see life as a journey filled with love and light.  I send you blessings and love today and always.

Shine On!

xo

Untie the Pink Ribbons

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“Life is a gift.

We just have to remember

to untie the ribbons.”
 – Unknown

 

I was diagnosed on New Year’s Eve of 2001 with breast cancer.  I heralded in 2002 with trepidation, stark fear and a sickening feeling in my stomach as I faced the unknown future.  Due to that diagnosis, I have survived more than 10 surgeries with one more in the future.  I have endured 6 months of chemotherapy, 6 weeks of daily radiation, countless tests and visits to specialists, excruciating pain, sleepless nights, days when my brain just didn’t seem to work, losing my hair, my breasts, my confidence and my life as I knew it.  I have residual problems, testing every 6 months due to complications and I’m never quite far away from that original diagnosis although to meet me you may never know what I’ve endured.

But I’m still here, untying the gift of today…everyday.

It’s a choice my friends.  No matter what you are facing and believe me, I’ve faced so much in my life and not just cancer, it’s a choice to greet the dawn with enthusiasm, patience, love and kindness in your heart.  It’s a choice to think, “Oh God, it’s morning” and groan or to say it with enthusiasm for the gift of today that is yours.  After any illness, tragedy, or hard times, there’s a transitional period to find your new normal.  It will go a lot easier and faster for you if you lean into the idea that change is inevitable and it can be good.

Don’t mistake me, I can still get plenty mad about having breast cancer.  I can stomp my feet with the rest of the marchers and be angry that parts of my life have been taken from me.  I can look at my scarred body with hatred for what has occurred.  However, I choose to look at it with love for having endured so much pain and still be able to house my soul, my heart and my mind.  Sure, there are days when I lament the loss of my figure as it was before cancer and sure, I look at the scars and see the pain, the heartache and feel that I am not  beautiful.

But…I can also look and see how my body has healed herself with my help.  I see how my mind, body and spirit have connected, joined forces, so that the superficiality of life has fallen gently by the wayside and I am freed from conventionality.  I hold dear the knowledge that I find beauty in another soul’s eyes and spirit and pray that there are others out there who feel the same way.

We hold the power to untie those pink ribbons and find beauty, love, light and health in our own lives.  The diagnosis and subsequent treatments hold a turning point in my life.  I cannot say that I am happy I had this illness.  But I will say that I have grown in my own strength, love and health because of it.  I am a different person because I have endured so much and I am grateful for what I have learned about myself.  I found inner strength that I never knew I possessed.  I embrace my spirituality more tenderly than before and I hope that if you are on this journey of breast cancer, that you find peace, love, health and light within you to guide you as we find ourselves on this journey of light.

Shine On!

xo