Posts tagged truth
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This is Terri.

She used to be a control freak. She thought if she planned out her life, it would keep her safe.

Safe from embarrassment, failure, reprimand.

She spent lots of energy and time making sure she knew what came next and how she would deal with what came next.

She forgot how to live in the present.

She lost the joy that comes in the freedom of being.

The beauty of nature.

Taking a walk with no idea where you are going.

She lost touch with fun.

She forgot how to play.

She grew more and more desperate to be accepted.

She tried making everyone happy.

But then she only felt lonelier and lonelier inside.

She became an island.

Being an island was awful.

She reached out but no one would help her. Or so it seemed.

Everything new she tried just left her frustrated and to her horror she became a negative nelly.

She was everything she hoped she never was.

She grew darker. She hung on tighter to things she should have simply let go.

She tried harder. It only drove people further from her.

She swore she would do better, be better, and she set goals, to-do lists, and set out to make them happen.

When she realized that nothing was working. She gave up. She let herself fall apart.

Hit rock bottom.

And it was there in the dark she realized it was all up to her.

If she could remember who she was before the world told her she wasn’t enough, or wasn’t good enough, or needed to do it better, she might be able to turn herself around.

So she set out to find herself. Indeed, she gave herself permission to move way out of her comfort zone, to change her mind, to fail at things, until she was able to remember what made her happy.

What made her laugh. What made her cry tears of joy. What inspired her. What made her lose track of time. What calmed her when she was feeling overwhelmed.

In time, she began to remember trees held a magic power for her.

Freedom from a strict schedule allowed her the spontaneity to ignite her creativity.

Laughing at herself was so helpful to quieting her mean voice.

No one was perfect.

No one expected her to be perfect.

Everyone who truly mattered would accept her transformation from who she had become into who she was always intended to be.

She suddenly began to accept she was loved beyond measure.

She was worthy of all that she wished for.

She was intimately connected to the world.

She was supported by the universe and those she loved.

She mattered.

And she embraced herself.

Wrapping her arms around herself she began to believe in her own power again.

And she felt free to be herself for the first time since she could remember.

She had forgotten how good it felt to be fully in her own footprint.

Making Her Choice
Photo credit: Jan Hubert
Photo credit: Jan Hubert

When the boat of security she lived in first began to pitch wildly in the waves of her deepest, darkest truths, she felt a fissure of fear.

Even before her boat capsized, she understood she would drown.

In a sea of salty tears.

They came from somewhere deep. Somewhere foreign feeling.

A place she hadn't dared to go for a very long time.

She let herself sink into the depths of her sadness for she was so tired of struggling.

Maybe, she thought, if she just rested for a moment or two, she'd muster the energy she needed to soldier on. She gave into the quiet, calm and sank even lower. She pictured herself in the eye of the storm allowing the millions of thoughts in her head to slowly empty, until there was only one.

I am a failure.

With a jolt her feet hit rock bottom. No where further down to go.

She just couldn't muster enough energy to fight that deepest, darkest thought any longer. Immediately she felt the bleakness of her wasted life in every pore of her body. The would have, could have, should have's stacking up before her to be reviewed. She knew she had let everyone down, had let herself down worst of all. She was so far off course she saw no more possible paths to take. Was this the fall she feared she'd never recover from?

In the darkness of her soul came the words she needed to hear.

Everything will be okay, everyone will be okay. Let it go. You've got this. And oh by the way, You are worthy.

Fresh tears flowed as she let the words surround her like a blanket. Only this time the tears weren't the same. They didn't hurt as much, they were softer, warmer, meant to soothe not sear.

And as they warmed her cheeks, they warmed her heart a little, too. She felt a little less alone. The tiniest spark of hope begin to grow in her.

At one time giving in, giving up the reigns of her life had been the furthest thing from her mind. The thought of letting go had only made her hold on tighter, try harder, do better. Now she knew her only option was surrender, she no longer had the energy to fight against the current of her heart.

She took a deep breath and some of the tight spaces in her body began to give a little.

Instead of dying in this low, dark space, she realized she actually could breathe a little easier here. The crushing weight on her chest began to lift and in the far corner of her dark soul a spark of light began to grow. The light was warm and comforting and filled her mind, heart and whole being with a feeling of acceptance, understanding, and ease.

It felt so refreshingly beautiful she was afraid to acknowledge it, fearful it would retreat and pull her back into the darkness.

But it grew brighter until it nearly filled her, and then she heard the voice again:

Inside everyone is darkness and light. Good and bad. That is the way it is meant to be. A person cannot be 100% perfect. That means there will always be darkness within you. But there is also light. So much light. You are no different than anyone else. You, like everyone, must learn to live in the light of you. Once you do, your mission here is to show others how to do the same. Teach others to dance in the light. Their own light. To take back their power.

And then there was quiet again. She wanted (as usual) to ask a million questions. To learn what she needed to do to stay in this welcoming light.  She wanted to know how she could possibly teach others to find the light. She wanted help to do it all correctly, but no words came out of her. There was only the silence.

And in the blissful quiet of her soul she discovered she already knew the answer to her unasked questions.

I hold the power. I've had the power all along.

She was the answer. She had all the answers within. She always had. She needed only to believe in her own power, to be still and listen to hear the answers to her questions.  In that quiet, calm space deep within her was all the knowledge she'd ever truly needed.

And the words she heard this time were her own.

I see you darkness. I acknowledge you are part of me. I understand that within everyone is darkness, and also beautiful light. I have a choice from which place I operate and I vow to live from this moment on in the light. I surrender my grip of control to a higher power for I know that I cannot see the whole picture from my tiny view. I will trust that I am enough, imperfectly as I am, and that I am worthy of everything I dream of. I will allow my life to unfold and to believe in my own power to discern the correct path. I will let my heart lead me to where I was meant to be all along.

And just like that she was filled with light. She was back home to herself. The same girl, yet forever different. Changed. Enlightened. Recharged. Renewed. Ready. Free. Hopeful. Reconnected.

Choosing never to be alone again.

For more in this series:

Losing Her Magic

Finding Her Worth

Garnering Her Courage

Her Transformation to Truth

A manifesto, a poem, an inspiration, who knows? Sharing the words that came to me while walking with the trees.


Her Transformation to Truth

She emerged from hibernation less like a bear and more like a butterfly.

Transformed, she now sparkled with color.

Opening her wings to fly,

Maybe for the first time ever,

She was truly free of all that weighed her down.

She considered the time spent within well worth it.

For the world in front of her was somehow different.

Although things were in the same places, she didn’t view them the same. There was more color, more texture and so many things she had never truly noticed before. Her post-hibernation world was ablaze with wonder.

She saw raw beauty in all places. Found joy in each moment. Let hope fill her every in-breath.  And as she acknowledged this, trust began to grow again in her heart.

She would no longer live a life of pretend to make others feel better. It had never suited her.

And keeping up the pretend only confused her more.

From this moment on she knew she would remain at truth. Always. And if the truth did not please others, she’d speak it boldly anyway, or she would stand strong and silent if she thought it best, as long as doing so did not compromise her soul.

She understood that truth would remain her constant and trusted companion—would serve as her guiding light, and the familiar voices of doubt and indecision would find nothing to argue with if she did.

As she embraced her new world, she wisely realized that truth was the solid ground on which she would begin to grow into the best version of herself.

---Terri Spaulding

Will You Lend Your Support to a Child in Need?

I was asked to lend my "voice" to help someone in need today.

Someone who is too young to protect herself. The systems created to protect children in need, are currently failing her. The petition that needs signatures is to Gov. Rick Snyder asking him to take another look at this case and to stop allowing the people in charge to send this child back into the hands of her mother, her abuser. It will also aid those who love her in spreading the word to a larger audience, to garner signatures of support, so the courts will do the right thing and allow her father to take care of her.

My first reaction when I got the request was 'but that is not what my blog is about'.  But that was only a knee jerk reaction-- and one I immediately reconsidered.

Truth is what my blog is all about. It might not always be about what people want to hear, but it may be exactly what needs to be said.

So here goes:

Ellie, my nieces new daughter by blended family, is in need of help via your signature to support a petition to have her case examined more closely. This beautiful little girl is being abused and no matter how hard her father (and others) fight for the right thing to be done, it seems she is sent back into the hands of the one who allows the abuse to continue. Her mother.

You may not know the story. I may not even know the full story. But what I do know is this. Ellie deserves to be protected, to find her safe haven, her home and to be cared for by those who love and respect (and want) her.

I know little about abuse from my personal experience.  I was raised by supportive, protective, loving parents, who only wanted the best for me. But I do know what it is like to see a child and or children who are not so lucky. My family opened our home to a couple children who needed their own version of a safe haven a few years back. That small gesture has made the biggest impact on so many lives. Mine included. In that case, we did the right thing no matter how hard it was at times-- and the ripples of good from that continue to surround me.

I've seen all kinds of moms in my life. Some who are great mothers with great intentions, some who are mothers with good intentions who make mistakes,  and some who are just plain awful.

I know from experience that you don't have to be a biological mother to love a child as your own. To feel for them the same as you feel for your biological ones. Love is love. Doing the right thing is always the best way to go.

Here is the link to Ellie's petition, it was written by Ellie's grandmother, my sister-in-law. If you feel called to sign your name in support of a small child in need of a voice, please do. And if you feel called to share it, well we would really appreciate the support. We need 150 more signatures before Wednesday. Before time runs out and the courts send Ellie back to her abusive mother.

Spreading Love and Sharing Truth. It just has to be the right way to go.

Thank you for any support you are able to give.

---Terri

How Big is Your Brave?

Just another day in paradise.

I'm not brave.

Or, am I? I did make at least one bold move recently.

I left behind the world I knew and walked off into the sunset to follow my heart. I did it without a plan, and without a safety net. It was totally out of my comfort zone. Heck, it was out of everyone's comfort zone. It might have even been a little irresponsible.

Many thought so. A few told me I couldn't do only what I wanted.... some warned me that this new venture would be really hard, others wished me luck to my face (yet I sensed they secretly hoped I'd fail).

And yet, I didn't really care. I'd faced rock bottom and it was a place I never wanted to be again. Depressed and negative, I'd slowly turned into someone I barely recognized, someone I definitely did not like. I had lost my confidence, my solid footing. I questioned everything, had trouble making decisions, and certainly allowed the actions and words of others to derail me.

If brave means doing what you have to do to get your life back, then I guess I was. I took the risk of uncertainty over more of the same. I suppose you could say I took my personal power back.

And despite a rocky forecast, this new gig is working out. I'm happier, freer, better. I don't make the money I once did --which never really mattered to be anyway -- but I also don't spend money like I used to.

Life is simpler. It got so complicated for a while there and I got further and further away from my true self. For a time I couldn't figure out what to do about it. A book saved me. It helped me take a step forward -- since then so many other books have shown me the way. The book that made me look at things differently was Happy For No Reason by Marci Shimoff. I actually didn't read it, I listened to it in my car.

And that is how I feel now, most days. Happy. Blessed. At peace. Freer. Whole. Everything has more meaning than it once did, and so much more is appreciated.

My brave might not have felt that brave to begin with, but I am positive without it, I would not be where I am today.

I met up with a friend the other day and she told me I seemed Calm. Happy. At peace.

She said it with one eyebrow raised. I inquired about that. She wondered how I had done it.

I told her I had "turtled" inward and focused on doing things that were easy, things that served me.  She asked what "easy" meant. I told her I had started saying no to the things that others wanted me to do, things I knew I could do, but didn't really want to. I stopped trying to fix things for others, and started concentrating on what I needed to do to move forward.

It made all the difference in the world.

You cannot heal those around you until you heal yourself. I took that advice to heart. I healed the mean voice inside...and once I did, my life started changing. And those around me noticed and also started changing.

My advice to those who want to move forward: stop listening to the mean voice and start hearing your higher self--the essence of YOU -- I am positive your life will change, too.

And who knows, maybe YOU will find YOUR own version of brave.



The View From Here ...

...is not exactly what I expected it to be.

And for the record I'm not talking about the view shown here; that one is beautiful. I'm talking about the view from this place in my life, it isn't exactly what I once thought it would be.

Did you ever think about the kind of mother, grandmother, dad or grandpa you were going to be, long before it was actually time for it to happen? I did. I'm a thinker, a dreamer....I have always loved other people's kids -- I have infinite patience with them, so I once thought I would be a really good mom.

Only I wasn't. Oh, I kept my kids safe, clean, fed, and attempted to teach them what I thought they needed to know, but I missed a lot of live-in-the-moment opportunities. I think I knew it too, at the time, but I couldn't stop myself. The to do list in my head was way too long, the responsibility to achieve, to make myself useful too ingrained.

As a young mother I felt the guilt of knowing I wasn't taking enough time to enjoy my kids. I realize now I spent way too much time doing the unimportant things, like keeping my house clean, sending out Christmas cards, or doing what I thought I needed to do look like I was on top of it all. (Homemade cookies for the boys' birthday treats, handmade gifts for teachers, whatever it was I thought people expected of me). I felt shame when I lost my temper, or rushed through bedtime stories, or listened to my boys with only one ear while I was intently focused on accomplishing  <something>, anything to prove my worth and my value to others.

But I powered on through my life hoping to make up for my mistakes one day -- when I was a grandma I was going to be awesome. My biggest fear was  that my boys would move away and I wouldn't be able to see my grand kids often enough. I wanted that second chance to do it right.

I would do it all differently,  I would appreciate every moment, read the books slowly so I could savor every minute of the snuggly cuddle and relish every sloppy kiss. I vowed not to care about spills or messes, instead I planned to enjoy my grand kids' uniqueness and quirky personalities. I loved the thought that I could have f-u-n with them and not have to feel the weight of responsibility of trying to teach them all that they needed to know to succeed in life. 

I hoped that while I never really shined at mothering, grand mothering would be my thing. I could dote, spoil, play, enjoy ---on my time, and then send them back home when I needed to. I would be a great grandma.

I never dreamed I'd be a grandma who didn't even know her grandson. But this is where I learned someone had another plan for me.

Because I AM a grandma, but I've never met my grandson. My grand baby is just over three months old now. He doesn't know me. Or my family (yet) because he was given up for adoption. A difficult decision, but not mine to make. I am glad it wasn't up to me, it takes a lot of courage to let go and I am not sure I would have been able to make that selfless decision, which was in the best interest of the baby.

I hear he has loving parents; I pray they think he is the greatest thing ever. I'll bet he also has loving grandparents who take time to savor the little moments with him.

The ultimate irony, right? Never put off the present moment for some time in the future because it may never actually come. And if it does, it may not be what you anticipated. It just isn't the way I saw it all happening, without me in it.

This grandma won't be savoring any snuggles, cuddles, stories, or little moments any time soon. I will be lucky if I get to meet him at all.

If I needed proof that the control I clung to for most of my life was a big fat waste of time; this is it. It is a perfect reminder to enjoy what is right in front of you, when it is right in front of you. Or you may never get another chance.

I choose to believe that everything happens for a reason, and the view from here is one I needed to experience, even if it sucks, even if I don't yet understand it. 

Answer With Mindfulness / Question of the Week #23

photoAYou and I know each other.

Imagine you see me in the hallway at work, or we run into each other at the grocery store, maybe we find ourselves standing next to each other in the food line at a networking event. I smile in greeting and say "Hi, how are you?"

And you answer something like: "Fine" or "I'm good" or "Doing okay, how are you?"

I can't help but think that kind of exchange is really a waste of breath. Mine and yours. But we do it all the time, don't we? You might have even done it already today. Two or three times in fact.

Why do we answer quickly and not stop to think about how we really feel in that moment? How much better would it be if my question was "How are you feeling today?" and your answer reflected what was actually happening inside of you, instead of a polite deflection back to me?

What if you were able to run through a mental list of descriptor words and choose one to represent what you were feeling in that moment and share that with me. I am feeling powerful. I am distressed. I feel guilty. I am jittery. I am afraid. Or I am hopeful.

Wouldn't it be awesome if we all were able to pause, think, search for a word that fits how we are feeling in the present moment and share it, every time we are asked?

Now that would be living life in the present, with intention and mindfulness.

So why don't we?

  • It's easier to pretend, right? Just saying you are fine, when inside your world could be crashing down or cartwheeling away from you, is quicker and easier.
  • Are we ever really sure if the person asking wants to know or is just being polite?  Sometimes when I give an honest answer I end up feeling like a dork after I realize the person isn't really interested and now I just shared way too much information.
  • It's scary sometimes isn't it? To acknowledge that life isn't going well. It's way easier to share the happy stuff --the 'I'm feeling great moments'---everyone understands when you say "I'm great." But when you say: "I'm scared." "I'm stressed." "I'm so confused."  Those make people unsure and uncomfortable, especially when they were expecting an "I'm fine, how are you?" in return.

So most times we avoid saying how we really feel. We might actually even avoid thinking about how we really feel.

What if it were perfectly acceptable for you to say how you really felt every time you answered someone? What if we had the luxury of time to really listen to someone's answer, and to also dig deeper into the feeling just expressed? What if we had time to ask why?

I believe we would not only help ourselves by alleviating the burden we carry around inside ourselves, but we could help each other.

Feelings come from experiences. Sharing the experiences out loud, and honestly allows the individual sharing-- a chance to process through the situation-- to get in touch with their emotions, and with themselves. A listener then has the opportunity to be a sounding board, a source of new strength and support, and offer a much-needed new perspective. And they have the opportunity to learn from the person sharing.

In my ideal world people ask the question 'How are you (feeling)' because they genuinely want to know the answer. And people train themselves to give a thoughtful (and truthful) response in answer.

There is great power in a shared feeling -- whether it is a good or bad one. How often have you been uplifted simply by learning about someone else's joy? Or made aware of a situation or a previously unknown issue when someone shared their heartache? Increased empathy, sympathy, inspiration and understanding are just a few of the possible outcomes after someone answers a 'How are you' question with both thought and honesty. A real conversation can sometimes lead people to think: "If you can get through this thing that you are dealing with, then I can definitely get through what I am dealing with." "I am not alone." "You are not alone." "Life is awesome when things are truly going great."  A real conversation may set someone on a new path.

To me that kind of honest sharing is powerful stuff.

How Are You Really Feeling? / The Question of the Week #23

And yes I really want to know right now in this present moment a word that describes how you are currently feeling. My challenge to you is to ask someone else how they are really feeling today. If it goes well for you, then ask again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. Hey change has to start somewhere...

And to be honest, I'd really like to be asked how I am feeling. So, pretending that you did (just ask me that is), my answer is: I am feeling favorable.

Favorable: characterized by approval or support; positive; creating or winning favor; pleasing; affording advantage, opportunity, or convenience; advantageous; boding well.

photoD

 

And, thanks for asking.

 

 

My 2013 Declaration : It's Personal

photo(2)2012 was definitely a year best described as challenging.

It involved many firsts, a couple of successes, one epiphany, and way too many failures to count. Not my best year ever.

Words like turbulent, tense, & gut wrenching describe a year that seemed to fly by (and last forever) all at the same time. I came to understand how hard it can be to fit in and I tasted the bitter disappointment of realizing that giving something your best is not always good enough.

On a positive note, I did learn a LOT. About me. My strengths. My interests. My passions. My limits. And especially, my shortcomings. I immersed myself in the world of digital printing and caught onto its inner workings more quickly than I ever thought I would. I discovered how much I am energized by teaching. And writing. And helping people maximize their potential.

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There was a lot of failure for me in 2012. But I persevered, and stretched myself to points far out of my comfort zone. Our household had unexpected developments, which brought about massive regrouping and tears. Many tears. My biggest mistake might have been in losing faith in myself. That fact alone allowed the good of the year to be overshadowed by the bad. And all of it added to the frantic speed at which the year cruised by.

I missed so many little things. Like conversations about nothing.

Or having a clean house.

The joy of cooking.

Fun and laughter of impromptu game & karaoke nights.

The satisfaction from getting a deal while shopping for nothing specific.

Oh, sleep. I missed so much sleep.

And I missed being happy.

So it is with a huge sigh of relief that I let go of 2012 and all its angst. And replace it with a sigh of anticipation for 2013 and the affirmation that this year will be different. And better. If for no other reason than my approach and attitude will be different. And better. I’m starting anew.

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The three words I plan to live and breathe in 2013 are:

Simplify |  Appreciate | Linger

Simplify: To make less complex or complicated, make plainer or easier.

Appreciate: To value, to be fully conscious of, to be aware of, to raise in value.

Linger: to dwell in contemplation, thought or enjoyment; to dawdle; to walk slowly; to saunter along.

Oh, and while I am at it, I might throw in several savors,

… some dawdling,

A traipse or two...

...And at least 1000 dillydallys.

Anyone care to join me? What about you, what will you be doing in 2013?