Sunday, July 17, 2016

Starting Over and Over and Over Again

I read two quotes today; both mind moving and soul stirring. The first: "Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go: they merely determine where you start." - Nido Qubein. The second: "What is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself." - Anna Quindlen. (I thought it was weird that their last names both started with a "Q" too - so insightful of you to notice.) Out of a stack of over 100 quote cards, these two spoke to me the most in the present state that I am in. 
The first quote speaks about circumstances and not letting them hold you back. Seems like a quote for everyone, nothing too special about it, but it is very poignant to me at this moment in my life. About four weeks ago, I decided to change my life once and for all. I started waking up at 5am to walk the beach down from where I live. I planned my meals down to the calorie and protein gram. I was writing, reading and organizing my life. Two straight weeks I kept it up and felt so very good about myself. I was on a roll and loving this new path I was on. It finally felt like I was taking care of me! Then June 30th happened. I actually am not too sure what happened on June 30th, I just know that on July 1st I woke up to take a shower and both of my legs were covered in red splotches. It was itchy, it was painful and I was flabbergasted. Naturally, I figured I must have done something the day before to cause such a travesty to my health. (Mind you, this stage of allergic reaction was minimal to what would befall me later that weekend into the week.) I went through it in my mind: what did I eat differently? any new laundry soap? any new body wash? what was I wearing?  All I could come up with is that I spent 17 hours in the same black jeans. I had walked my usual 2 miles at lunch in them and then went out to dinner after work in them and walked a bit of Farmer's Market in them and then didn't get out of them until 11:30pm that night. Which having put them on at 6am or so would make a long day in the same outfit! And truly there has been no other explanation for it to this day. No ER doctors, nurses or Primary Care doctors could give me any answers so I am drawing my own conclusion. I wasn't about to let it stop me and I was VERY active that Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I put some hydro-cortisone cream on, took some Claritin and just lived my life! I was on such a good health streak, I didn't want to listen to my body.  
Obviously, it is NEVER a good idea to ignore your body talking. Monday morning, Independence Day, I woke up with an ankle the size of my head. It was so swollen and the splotches all over my legs were flared up. To the ER I went for blood tests, urine analysis and a sonogram. All was good with my vitals, so 2 types of antibiotics (which later I find out was a lot to take at one time - Primary Care docs couldn't believe I wasn't more sick from just the combination of pills the ER docs put me on... yikesers!) were prescribed and thus began my sad week of back tracking. The antibiotics wore me down a bit and my body was definitely unhappy and uncomfortable for the next 3 days. I laid in bed and mostly slept because Dreamland was the only place in which I could find some relief. Long story long, it has taken me until today to feel normal again. Today is 16 days since the redness first took over my legs and caused me such grief. 
Those "circumstances" have really frustrated me on a whole other level than just being uncomfortable. I was frustrated because before all this I had been on a path of change in my life and my beast mode train was derailed. It was like all that steam and momentum was just taken from me and I all I could do was lie in bed and help my body to heal. No walks, no hikes, no strenuous exercise per the doctors and that really stole my thunder. So, when I read this quote today which read: "Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go: they merely determine where you start," I felt a release of all that angst I'd been laid up with. I have never been through anything this trying to my health before and so I am stronger for it and ready to start again and hopefully get back the gusto I had ignited. My circumstances are just giving me a new place to start than I had expected, but in the end, I'll be better for it and able to see my strength magnified for having the experience of such a struggle. 
The other quote I read this morning was: "What is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself." - Anna Quindlen. There are images society throws out into the world of what life is supposed to look like and when some of the people around you believe in those societal norms, you can start to think that is how you're supposed to be too. I keep going around in circles, trying this diet, using this anti wrinkle kit or trying to buy the clothes that are "in style," but really who is that person? It's not ME. I'm a sponge and whatever I see or hear sticks to me and I soak it in. I fall into a trap, one that I can only blame on myself, of wanting to be like everyone else. Truth be told, I am not happiest when I am conforming to other ideals or trends. I am most happy in my Old Navy clothes, in my tiny bungalow by the beach with my savings depleted for having lived. Oh well. That's me. And I'm Awesome! (shouldn't be so hard for me to type those last three words, but it is. I feel horribly stuck up and/or unworthy... but I should see myself as awesome and value my choices and life because I made them/it and I truly and sincerely love who and where I am.) I need to own who I am, imperfections and all. It is getting easier and easier as I get older and wiser, but I have setbacks and hang-ups that get the better of me from time to time. I worry about an inflated ego or being perceived of having one since I just wrote the words "I'm Awesome." Perceptions be damned. The thing is, I know what I believe "EGO" to mean and it's not that. If someone loves who they are without it hindering their personal relationships, then that's not EGO. So, that's not me. Why do I care or worry so much about how I am to be perceived? That's not on me. I know my truth. The other thing to keep in balance is that even though I'm being ME and believe in A, B and C; it is my job as a good human spirit to acknowledge and embrace everyone else's A, B and C. It's just the right thing to do and the cherry on top would be that I would be garnished with the same respect. We're all free to be... I will not impose my beliefs on you, just let us all live our amazingly different lives... We learn the most from people who see things differently than us and even more when they only speak of their experience not of their agenda.  
So, what is my point with all this you might be asking. Well, I ramble to find meaning and I get inspired by the little things in life and try to piece together why I was so inspired. The conclusion, if you will is that "starting" is a process and we will START over and over again. Starting again doesn't always have to mean you failed (doesn't ever have to mean that), it just means you're choosing to get something done NOW. The most important thing is to not dwell on the past or get too hung up on the "why"s. You're starting again - good for you. PERIOD! The other thing is to embrace yourself NOW. Who you are at every stage is beautiful and wonderful YOU. Love yourself now, listen to your body, take care of your health and honor your visions. The vision you have for yourself and your life should only be YOUR OWN. Once you align with that and hold tight to that and be true to yourself whole-heartedly and without apologies will you be 100% happy. BE YOU. LOVE YOU. EMBRACE YOU.  

Monday, January 11, 2016


The lowest low won’t leave you there. You will see a high point again. We all struggle, at some point, trying to figure out what we’re here for. It isn’t that we have no purpose or are lacking deep sparks of inspiration. It’s just that at any given moment, we can fall into a spell of sadness. When someone passes whom you admired for their amazing humanity and humility, you can’t help but feel a void. Where will that love come from now? The answer is that you will create that love, even if you don’t know it yet. You have been touched by another life traveler and they have rubbed off on you FOREVER. The pieces of them you admired and held tight to become a piece of you. Perhaps you start to do the same things they did for the world or perhaps you just find your own way to spread the kind of joy they did.

Sadness doesn’t always come in loss, however. This is the mystery of life – why am I sad when I have it all in the palm of my hand? There’s not always a clear cut, crisp answer for you, but I have to believe that you need to feel whatever has come your way. Why would it be knocking at your heart if not to have you open up and let it sit down for tea and teach you something? So often, we are told not to answer the door or to kick out this visitor as soon as it sits down and reveals a bit of its intention. Truth is, we really need to have the "tea." We need to hear all the emotion has to say. It’s going to reveal a greater piece of ourselves and help us to heal or even just embrace who we are. It can get messy and it may hurt, but what a gift to feel such a magical mix-up of emotions. To feel at all is a gift. So open the door.

On a day like today, it seems quite obvious the reason for sadness. A musical legend has succumbed to cancer without ever letting on he even had the disease. It’s like a crazy realization that for 18 months he was suffering without the world knowing. That makes me sad. And then, it makes me feel very much in awe of a person who could keep something that monumental to himself. On his terms till death and well, that is pretty powerful stuff. What emotions must he have felt? Knowing he didn’t have much time, but managing to gather more pieces of inspiration to share with the world. He gave us the most amazing final farewell. 

I have been told throughout my life that my emotions would be a hindrance. My tangibility of what I felt and how often I did feel would in some way be the death of me.  All sorts of people throughout my days have said “You’re too sensitive” or “Stop your tears” or "Are you serious?" I have thought of myself as different and strange for feeling each and every emotion in one single day. I can literally go from crying to laughing. I will cry if someone harms a bug or when a trinket of my past gets broken or when I see a girl sitting on the curb in tears because she’s just been in a small car accident. She’s fine, car’s fine, but I cry for her and all she has to go through. I used to believe that was completely irrational or unacceptable by society because that’s what I’ve been programmed to believe. Be strong, buck up and just don’t ever let them see you cry are strong messages this world feeds us. The thing is – the world is lacking empathy. Feeling for others – REALLY feeling for other beings. I’ve got an abundance of it and I’m not going to change that. I'm sensitive not TOO SENSITIVE. I will not stop my natural feeling and if that means tears, so be it! Yes, I'm serious. I do not question your feelings so give me some grace and kindness when I feel. 

Today I’m blue. That’s not sexy. That’s not positive. That’s not my best foot forward. Still, that’s the truth. Today, I’m feeling down, lost and completely emotional. It’s okay. Everyone gets sad, down, or completely loses it. If more people allow themselves these lows perhaps more emotionally healthy people we would all be. I’m on a quest to feel what I feel. I want to be healthy. I want to be authentic. I have been doing some major work on me and I really expected to discover I needed to tone down my emotions in order to be a better person. What I discovered is exactly the opposite. Embracing myself and being a happier person can only be possible when I embrace the flows of emotions in my life. They are part of me and I don’t need to change them.  

Here’s to feeling what you feel and owning your emotions
Let them come in and go out like waves in the ocean
Don’t wallow or let them overtake your entire life
But know that a sad spell is completely all right
Even when you have everything you’ve ever wanted
There can be unaddressed skeletons in your closet
Let them come in and get you through it
Healing, light and peace will be all they emit
Embrace your human elements which include those feelings
Work through every one so it’s not your happiness they end up stealing
Feel and send out as much love as you can to those most closely affected
All alone in grief or doubt or pain, but you can show them we are all connected
Connected by our emotions and our empathy…
I feel for you… Do you feel for me?