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Find The Sunshine

sunshine

Breast cancer Awareness month is ending and I want to end it on a positive note for those who have endured the disease, for the family members who have witnessed their loved ones’ trials and tribulations and for those who have passed away.

Breast cancer took away much from my life mentally, physically and emotionally.  But the experience gave me even more than I ever expected possible.  I’m not making light of the hellish experiences those of us with the disease have endured or the worry and caretaking that our families gave to us during those hard times.

For me, it showed me so much insight that I would not be the woman I am today if I hadn’t endured the disease.  Even though I wish I could have never endured what I did or the fall out that changed my life forever and changed my relationships eventually, I stand firm in not regretting the experience.

I cannot blame my breast cancer for my divorce, but I can say that it put undue strain on our marriage.  How could it not?  But I will forever be grateful to my ex-husband for the love and support he gave to me during those hard times.  Part of the reason I am here was because he believed in me and that was a precious gift for which I am ever grateful.

Breast cancer opened doors for me into learning.  It gave me the platform which has blossomed into The Presents of Presence for in the beginning I felt driven to help other women to find the grace in the experience.  My spirituality soared afterwards and continues to grow with each passing day.

There is always a new dawn and with that sunshine comes possibility, hope and renewal.  Putting the past behind us, we can face the new day with glory, gratitude and happiness.  I know that some days it feels impossible to be upbeat because with breast cancer there are surgeries, recovery, chemotherapy, radiation and a plethora of other painful reminders of the reality of enduring the disease.  But what keeps me going is the knowledge that every day is another chance to live life to the best of my ability, to shine my heartlight and to connect with all who cross my path.

Shine On!

xo

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The Benefits In Troubles and Challenges

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If you read the title of my post today and scoffed, I don’t blame you.  When I wrote it, I scoffed a bit too because frankly, who wants to be grateful for troubles and challenges?  Heck, those are things we shy away from, even run from as fast as possible!

Who is their right mind would say there are benefits in troubles and challenges?

Me!  And maybe even you?!

Because I’ve endured quite a few, (cancer, divorce, family with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, death of family, just to name a few), I can attest to their benefits (of course, this is AFTER they happened).  After the fact, we can see how individual challenges make us grow and strengthen us.  The challenges force us, sometimes unwillingly, to look at our lives with a different perspective.  They inspire us to deep deeper into ourselves to find the strength, the courage, and the inspiration to get through the difficult times.  We find out what we are really made of when we have challenges in life.  We are offered choices on life’s path and the beauty that we can choose again at any time makes life interesting.  Challenges and growth opportunities allow us to see how far we’ve come in our lives.

We can see troubles and challenges as building blocks on the road to life.  Our ability to endure them and to triumph over them (or to not) shapes us in different ways.  We enable our innate personality traits to be tweaked.  We learn new ways of coping.  We tune our minds into new avenues of solutions.  We can make new friends who open our eyes to finding peace in stressful situations.

The potential for growth, mentally, emotionally and psychologically during troubles and challenges can be exponential.  True, it can be maddening and frustrating as heck to have to deal with difficulties, but the benefits in the end, can outweigh the discomforts.

I know, you are probably thinking that I just don’t understand your troubles and challenges and you are right.  We all have our own path, but as I have found, they sometimes intersect and we can walk a path together with a friend (or a stranger who becomes a friend) and we can help each other, and support each other as we move through the tough times.

At least that’s been my experience throughout this lifetime.  I find that the higher power in my life, call it what you may, God, Universe, Infinite Spirit, your own higher power – helps me along the way through the hard times by planting strangers disguised as angels, friends, synchronizations, coincidences, etc. in order to help me overcome whatever is holding me back.  These in turn encourage me to grow, to learn and to accept what previously I may have deemed unacceptable.  But in the long run, I know that they were necessary growth spurts to get to me to where I am now.

It’s hard to believe for some of us that there’s a light at the end of a dark tunnel and that in the end, all the hard times were worth the changes that were hard won.  It’s mind-blowing at times that we can see in hindsight the benefits that come after enduring these life lessons.

But they are there.  Truly, they are there.

So please, if you are wondering if it’s karma or back luck or whatever you are thinking in order to blame the bad that’s going on in your life right now, just stop.  Accept it.  Keep going through it and move on.

That light at the end of the tunnel is beckoning you with sunshine!  Come on, hold my hand.  I’ll walk the path with you!

Shine On!

xo

 

 

Cancer Changed Me

cancerchangedme

Hope ~ Strength ~ Power ~ Belief ~ Courage ~ Honor ~ Determination

I have been told that cancer changed me.  Indeed, it wasn’t said it in the nicest of ways.  In fact, it was taken as a disparaging comment and I was appalled by the off-hand comment.  My first reaction was to defend myself at the time, to show how cancer didn’t change me.  But I left well-enough alone and decided to say nothing.  However, I was hurt by the retort.

Had cancer really changed me?

The question mulled in my head for days and many sleepless nights, more than I’d like to admit, but it’s true.  I’ve written how cancer changes you enough times in this blog to know that the reality is – YES, cancer changes most of us.  It has to, or we wouldn’t still be here.  For we have seen into the yawning mouth of our own demise, endured the most feared emotions and have come out of it alive, so far.  Looking at your own potential death does change you.

It makes you more aware for the most part.  Some of us now see with finite definition that life is short and there are no guarantees how much time we have on this earth.  We become grateful for the beauty in nature, for the simple pleasures that kindness brings and for a real, loving hug which can cure many ills.  We look to connect with others more because we know what it’s like to feel alone.  We share our stories, encourage each other and find the courage to be who we authentically are!  We smile when we are tired.  We work hard to overcome obstacles and to be there for others, even when we feel depleted.  We take that extra moment to smile and to enjoy goodness when it comes into our lives.  We are grateful for the support that we have been given and we look to support others to continue the flow of goodness.  We share tips to help others and happily receive tips to make our lives easier.

We know that all the money in the world, with all the frivolities are fleeting and really don’t mean a damn when death comes knocking at our door.  It’s that silence between ourselves and our maker (or our beliefs) in the quiet of the night that counts.  It’s regarding peace within as a precious gift, time spent with loved ones and a centered calm in which to retreat when life becomes hard.  It’s the voice within the stillness which speaks of love, gratitude, peace with ourselves and others and God.

Yes, cancer changed me.  That’s for sure.  Perhaps it was the misunderstanding of me that caused this person to spout the ‘dig’ as I took it.  Sometimes it takes a loss for us to be humble and perhaps there will be people who simply never understand.  And that’s ok with me.

I am me, authentically me.  I make mistakes, I ask for forgiveness and I forgive.  I choose to live in a state of peace within when I can, but I am always evolving, ever growing and yet, trying to do all things with love.  I intend to do my best, at any given moment, but I’m human.  I’m a work in progress.  Aren’t we all?

What’s precious to me in my life is love, kindness and connections and I strive every day to live with those three precious gems in my life.  Cancer made me a better person by giving me so many lessons in my life.  I’ve learned so much from cancer, even though I never wanted to endure that disease.  Looking back on my life, I realize that I am who I am today because of cancer.  Even if others don’t understand me, it’s ok now.  I’m at peace and I’m ever grateful for the peace within me.

Shine On!

xo

Begin Again

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A friend gave me a magnet awhile back in anticipation for all of the changes that were in store for my future.  At the time, I didn’t want to Begin Again as it was daunting for me to think about all that would be changed.  Regardless of how much I didn’t want the changes, they happened anyway, out of my control.  Instead of accepting that my life would dramatically change in all ways – divorce, moving, financially, health-wise, etc., I fought like a tigress to remain in that stagnant limbo of wanting no change, all while change happened anyway.

Finally, I surrendered.

Broken, exhausted and drained, I surrendered.

It’s not that I didn’t agree that the changes were imminent and necessary.  It was that I was fearful of how I would continue on in this uncharted territory for my journey and the journey of my children, for it wasn’t where I wanted to be.  But when I stopped fighting against the rising tide and began to doggy paddle to keep afloat, I received help through the transition.  Angels disguised as friends and strangers reached out to me with kindness.  I began to see the future as a new chapter in my life, a new book on which to write my story and a fresh clean slate which I controlled (for the most part) of how I am the captain of my own life’s ship.

I began planning what had to be done and like a sergeant, began the transition with what I hoped would be military precision.  But alas, I may have had a plethora of military family members, but precision has not been a characteristic blessing unto me.  And so it was, I surrendered.  I did my best daily, fell asleep on my pillow with a bone tired body and rose up the next morning to do it all again.  And finally, it was accomplished, through the help of my angelic human angels.

Now we begin again, in a new home with new challenges.  Regardless, I have surrendered what was and I embrace what is and I plan for what I would like to be.  To Begin Again requires letting go of the past and staying in a peaceful present and allowing a hopeful future to blossom, petal by petal.

I am grateful for the peace within now.  Although transitions are often fraught with wiggles and compromises, I knowingly stand with peace in my heart, grateful for the lessons and learning which have come with the experiences I’ve endured.  I’ve learned so much about people, about myself and about love.  Life lessons have been tough at times, but well-worth the growth that came out of them.  Sure, it’s easy in hindsight to feel this way, but I guess I wanted to share with you so that you can remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  We just have to keep walking towards the light.

I’m here for you if you are going through any transitions as I’ve been through a bunch of different ones:  cancer, multiple surgeries, chemo, radiation, divorce, selling a house, finding the right rental, starting over at 50, death of family, family with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, etc.  If you need a friend, here I am, with my arms wide open for a hug.

Shine On!

xo

 

 

Life’s Journey

life'sjourney

Life’s Journey

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

– Lao Tzu

Life has its own path of twists and turns, many of which are made by our own free will or the free will of others in our tribe.  Sometimes circumstances beyond our control can also throw a proverbial monkey wrench into our life paths, causing us to traverse mountains and rugged terrain as we sort through changes that we may have never wanted to see coming.

What I’ve found to help me as I’ve traversed rocky terrain has been to add love to every situation by throwing in a dash of positive thinking, forgiveness for myself and others, a splash of kindness and compassion and a letting go of the reigns of responsibility and control to which I sometimes grip too tightly.  A continual reminder to keep gratitude in the forefront has aided my healing as well.  Keeping the faith and allowing the Universe to help me has created much positivity and peace in my life.  Lastly, connecting with others, opening my heart, mind and soul to trusted friends who have helped me when I’ve stumbled, has made the journey more endearing and has lessened the angst.

For me, I always feel as though I can do anything if someone else believes in me and walks along with me on this chapter of life’s path in a companionable way.  Connect with me, hold my hand (not necessarily physically, but emotionally), for awhile, link arms with me in friendship and support and know the difference between listening, advising and telling.

I am here, hopefully back to blogging as I have missed you all very much.  I pray that while I’ve been absent from blogging that you have been well, continuing to shine your heartlights and being you ~ a loving, supportive community of heartlit writers who care!  You know, I’m your biggest fan!

Shine On!

xo

Until You’ve Been There, You Can’t Quite Understand

untilyouhavebeenthereUntil You’ve Been There,

You Can’t Quite Understand

At some point in life, we can feel misunderstood and alone as if no one truly understands what we are enduring.  It happens.  We can swirl in strive alone or we can reach out to others.  I have found through my experiences that when we endure hardships, we have a choice.  We can allow them to keep us down or we can use our knowledge to help others.  There’s nothing like the connection when we share what we are going through and find the comfort with someone who understands because they have a similar experience.

On the other hand, if you have not experienced ‘x’ (fill in the blank with whatever hardship you are currently enduring), you may find it difficult to be compassionate with a friend who just doesn’t ‘get it’ because they simply can’t imagine the magnitude of ‘x’ in your life.

Don’t despair dear friends for it happens to all of us.  We all have certain hardships in life that can drag us down, but here you can find a connection of love that endures, supports and helps to raise you up when you need comfort.  You only need to tap into the love of the universe to feel it.  Take my hand.  I understand.

Holidays can be trying times for the best of us.  Grief and loss can sour happy times if we let them.  But we have a choice to allow sadness to swallow us up and sap our energy or we can reach out and look up.  I know it’s not easy, but it is possible.  Begin to feel the festive spirit of love in your life.  You are not alone, ever.  Even when you feel completely misunderstood and alone, you are not.  Faith is a great healer.  Your inner spirit shines with a heartlight full of love when you let it.  Allow your soul to glow with love and peace.  Begin to feel the gratitude for being here in this moment.  Breathe in the source of God’s love for you.  Close your eyes and see the white light of love surrounding you.

Grief comes in waves.  Ride the peaks and valleys of grief as best you can and know that it can be a wild ride.  But know that it is a part of life’s journey.  For without grief, we would not understand the beauty of happiness and joy.

Share your experiences with others as when we connect, when compassion forges that connection, we all become empowered by the moment.  When we lift someone else up by word or deed or even companionable silence, we lift your own spirit as well, we begin to heal and we strengthen our loving heartlights to shine even brighter!

Remember you are loved.  You are cherished.  Life is a season of years with ups and downs.  We remember the good and the bad, but the choice is ours as to what we allow to take our attention.  You are wise.  You are here.  Be kind to yourself and others today for we are all enduring something.  Compassion heals, dear friends.  Shine your heartlight, connect with others and know that you are loved.

Shine On!

xo

 

Help When The Rug Gets Pulled Out From Under You

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When the rug gets pulled out from under you, when you fall off the horse, when you feel like you’ve been sucker-punched, when you fall down, when you’ve been side-swiped, when you’ve been dumped, when you experience failure, when you’ve lost it all, when you fill in the blank, ~ there are so many quotes to explain when life knocks you down and throws you for a loop.  I am sure you can think of many others.  But it’s the answer to the question that leaves us hanging.

What is the solution?

We’ve all experienced changes that we’ve seen coming and also have been blinded by when we least expect it.  Changes can be in any part of our lives ~ finances, health, love, relationships, family, jobs etc.  Some of the lessons I’ve learned when the proverbial rug has been pulled out from under me (which it has in many aspects of my life) is this…

YOU need to find peace and a new normal for yourself.

Nobody can or will do it for you.  It’s only up to you.  Sure you may be able to count on friends  and perhaps family to help, but the bottom line is that the only one who CAN do it, is YOU!  And it’s hard.  It’s changing the way you look at your life and at your choices.  It’s taking responsibility for your part in the whatever the situation is and moving forward.  It’s giving YOURSELF your full attention and then deciding how to deal with the enormity of the change in your life.

To do this, you must be honest with yourself.  Nobody wants to hear about it after awhile, so it’s up to you.  You can seek advice from those who have experienced the same situation.  You weigh what you know, what you learn and you incorporate the best parts into your new normal.  The best advice I can give you is to find peace, however you need to find it.  You need to not give up or give in.  Re-find your balance.  Get back on the horse.  Put yourself back in the game.  Find a new job.  Begin again.  Grieve for what you feel is lost and then find peace within you.  Connect with yourself again for somewhere along the line, you’ve lost yourself and your power.  Use your power for bettering yourself and those around you.  Look up to God and the Angels for help if you are spiritual/religious.  Look inside yourself for strength that you have, but maybe haven’t tapped into yet.  Stand on your own two feet (after getting up).  If you must, walk away, crawl away and take baby steps towards your future.  Take time to honor your sadness and the changes in your life.  Weigh the pros and cons before taking any definitive baby steps.

But do it all with peace in your heart.

Yes, you can blame others for your situation and the blame could be correctly placed on them, but what good does that serve you?  It only makes you resentful, angry and operating at a low vibration.  I’m not saying to be a doormat by any means.  But to use up your precious life with negativity hurts only you.  It dims your heartlight.  It destroys your soul.  It hurts you in more ways that you can even begin to imagine.  And haven’t you already been hurting enough?

So today, dear friends, is your day.  Take a few minutes to concentrate on you ~ begin a plan that includes a little me time everyday.  It can be as simple as a bubble bath or a ten minute meditation.  You can write in your journal, plan for 2016, take a heart-healthy walk, talk to a friend, get some fur therapy from a favorite animal, sing, dance, walk outside and commune with nature.

Be kind to you…be kind to others.  Lead with the love in your heart.  Shine your heartlight for all to see and goodness comes your way.  But it’s up to you.  Take my hand.  Walk with me.  We will take baby steps to the new you!

Shine On!

xo