The Peace of It

And anything that disturbs your prayer, your meditation, your PEACE, must roll off you like water off a ducks back.

The last day and a half has been the most peaceful of times. And also the most fun.  That is because of two things:  First, when someone who is negative, argumentative and just nasty exits, let them.  Second, all that time and energy spent on the negative energy that person brought can now be spent on more positive aspects of life.

Over the  last 36 hours or so, I have gotten more done that in the past week.  It has been very peaceful in my house and in my world. There has been nothing but love, kindness, friendship, laughter and wonderful.

And all of us need a life less all the extraneous drama.  Some thrive on it, some thrive on bringing in to wreak havoc on others lives. Which is why we must be vigilant and very picky about whom we let into our circle.  What is the saying? Not everyone deserves a seat at your table. So you can’t let someone else disturb the peace you have within yourself.  Life will get messy for all of us at some point, and that simply cannot be helped, but we can lesson the frequency and impact if we are good gatekeepers.

These next few weeks will be emotional for me, and all the more reason to make sure that there is only love and support around me.  The first anniversary of Mom’s death will be hard, and I need all the support I can get.  There is no room for strive or unrest or unpeace.  There is no room in my life for anything but goodness, compassion, empathy, loyalty, love, and integrity.

I will follow the goodness, the happy, the wonderful. I  will soak all of the positive in like a sponge, and everything else will roll off me like water off a ducks back. Only that which is good for me, that serves me will be in my life. Because I simply do not have the emotional bandwidth for anything else.

And this summer, though it will be difficult, will also be one of the best. As I sit out on my back deck and watch the fireflies dance with joy, I am thankful that my mother taught me to take the time to sit and sip a glass of wine on a cool night.  I am glad my father taught me about watching the lightning during a storm.  Because not only are these things beautiful and add joy and appreciation to life, but you also have to take time to slow down to enjoy them.

Sometimes the best life isn’t what you can cram into it, sometimes the best moments are the ones we c slow down enough to find.  And there en-lies the Peace of it.

Getting in the Groove

There comes a point  in your life, after we have gone through a difficult or tumultuous time that you start to feel like maybe, just maybe, you are getting your groove back. This is where I am.

After a year of grieving, and there is some left still, as the first year of Mom’s death is coming up, but I feel like I am awakening.  I am tired of the struggle of rebuilding and struggling.  I have worked so very hard, emotionally, mentally, physically, to adjust to the new normal after loosing Mom and Dad.  And I have succeeded on many levels.

And now, things are finally getting into the groove of the new normal.  My career is in the groove, my house is…well, it’s getting better.  And even my personal life is getting back in the groove.  All is all, everything, except for that last 10 pounds, is falling into place.

There has been a lot of change, much uncertainty, a million tears, and too many heartbeats to even count.  I have traveled thousands of miles in the universe of my soul to get here.  I have shed the skin of the past and come out a new person, moving forward in the new normal. I know they would proud. There have been mistakes, but we all do the best we can at any given time.  And I have fumbled through but am seeing the light at the end of the other side.

I look forward to life when I wake up. I pray and mediate and read and write.  I have goals and hopes and dreams that were placed on hold.  And I look forward once again to the future and what life has to bring. I have a wonderful family, and my friends are turning into my family as well, watching over me and helping me through life. No one will ever replace my parents, but it is good to know that I have fertile land where roots will grow. Fertile ground that will grow the life I want and bare the fruits of the hard work.

And it is in this sincerest of feelings that I love life forward and move into the groove. I will follow the goodness, I will make this life wonderful in the new normal.

The Excitement of New Life

This little life of mine, I’m going to let it shine”

It has been a little while since I have written.  But I have been very busy, making this little life shine. I have been praying, meditating, sharing, laughing, healing, drinking wine, and just taking time to take care of myself and get things in order.

Miracles happen every day, so why shouldn’t that happen in my life?  That is a question that we should be asking ourselves. And instead of asking ourselves Why me?  We should be asking, why not me?  That means instead of asking why you when complaining, figure out the kind of life you want and ask why not you?  When looking at success, why not you?  When finding happiness, why not you?

Sometimes we think that we are not worthy of success or the good things in life, or we get discouraged because we have been working hard for so long.  But change your attitude and change your world.

Embrace the glorious mess that you are.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

I am a glorious mess right now.  I am still in the active process of grieving the loss of both parents.  I still burst out into tears at certain songs, smells, thoughts and memories.  That is just how it is.  And with Father’s Day coming and the first anniversary of Mom’s death, I am a hot glorious mess.  And that is OK.

But I also have many reasons to celebrate.  In finding the New Normal, which is an incredibly difficult and emotional journey, there is the opportunity to make my life exactly what I want it to be.  This time has made me reexamine many things in my life.

The result is that I saw that I was not happy with several facets of my life.  So, with prayer, meditation and and a hopeful heart, made some changes to get closer what I want, and how I want my life to feel.  It’s not about chasing that illusive thing called Happiness, it’s about creating a life that makes me fulfilled and content.

“Making a big life change is pretty scary. You know what’s even scarier? Regret.”

Changes have happened, and they are resounding in their vibration.  I am taking care of myself now and doing what I need. I have a new roommate.  The house was big and lonely.  I needed someone else there, another soul, a friendly face to see at the end of a tough day,  So one of my best girlfriends is now there.  And it has made such a difference in my mood and disposition.  To have someone who loves you, and not romantically, but just as a human being, is wonderful. It is healing.

I have also decided to take my career in a different direction and this is exciting.  I will still be writing, but more in a creative fashion. This is something I have wanted for a along time, but have not had the opportunity to take action on this.  Before taking care of my parents I was putting my nephew through college. Now, it is my time, and I get to do what makes me happy.

Another positive change is moving into the master bedroom. It is huge for me, taking over this room as the lady of the house.  Arranging it and making it mine. It is symbolic of taking control over my life and doing what is best for me.  I am the captain, the author…

Often when people go through a change they also do a massive cleaning out.  They get rid of what has weighed them down.  It could be things, people, jobs, whatever. And the result is amazing. I feel lighter, healthier and more at peace.  If I have no hope of ever fitting into it again (like my skinny, skinny pants), then it goes.  If you don’t support me, or add something positive to my life, then you go too.

Stop worrying about what you have to loose and start focusing on what you have to gain.

And there are other miracles as well that are beautiful, amazing and are still developing.  But this little life, gives me so much for which to hope, to dream, to do, to be.  I have motivation to work hard, to be my best.  That kind of enthusiasm cannot be faked either, it must come from within.  How do you get there?  Just ask yourself how do you want your life to feel?  And go after what makes you feel that way.

I want a life that is filled with purpose, service and fulfillment.  A home where my friends and family feel warm and welcome.  A job where I write and contribute to in a meaningful way.  And it may sound silly, but having a full cupboard with plenty of food for my friends, and plenty of bedding and towel for friends in case any one of them need a place to stay…that makes me feel content.

A life where love is so present, that it is tangible. And it is getting closer with every second of hard work, prayer, thoughtfulness and Faith.

And now more than ever, I have a reasons to take care of myself, to make sure that I am emotionally, physically and mentally healthy.  There are some life changes that can quickly put everything in your life into perspective.

To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.. – Shakespeare

The House of Love

We all have dreams, goals, and work hard to have the life that we want, the life that we envision for ourselves. It has been a challenge for me to figure out what I want my life to be and look like with all the recent changes. But reshaping my life is part of healing and moving forward. 

One thing is for sure, when we decide what it is we want our life to be, and how to serve our purpose, then we must work hard to make it happen. Just like a house takes effort to build, so does our life, one brick at a time. 

And while I may not have all the details worked out yet, I know what I want my life to be: Love. I want a life so full of love that it encompasses everything. I want a life where love is so present that it is tangible. 

And that kind of love can only come from God. He is the source, and I am the vessel. So I must the willing for Him to work through me in order to have that kind of love, to be that kind of love. 

My mother knew this and prayed every day to be what was needed, to be the vessel that God needed her to be. And Dad followed suit. And their love goes on, even now. Over the weekend I was missing them so deeply. I asked them to please send me a sign, something only for me, that I would know. And they delivered, with love.

My mother gave me her sign in one of her usual ways, the sky. On the way back from seeing friends, I looked up and saw a cloud plainly in the shape of an “M.” That was Mom’s signature on many of her notes. So I knew that was from her. And I smiled. Dad’s sign, of course required a little more work.

His sign came as a dream about a boat in a bad storm. My family was trying to save everyone and the boat. My father called me on my cell and told me that the damage was bad, but could be fixed. Knowing the storm was dangerous, I asked where he was so I could help him off the boat. “I’m on the cheek,” Dad replied. I thought for sure he misspoke. “You mean the deck?” “No,” he corrected, “the cheek.”

The dream was very vivid, and I awoke wondering what the cheek of a boat was. Google to the rescue. Usually associated with gaff masts, the cheeks are knee shaped pieces of wood either side of the mast at the hounds which carry the trestle tree and the eyes in the end of the shrouds. They are also used around the keel. In short, they are the support and without them the boat would go off course. I solved Dad’s riddle and figured out his message is that he and Mom would still be my support when needed. What wonderful messages of love. 

And so it goes. If we write our life, then love is the story I want it to be.  I move forward with the intent of love. Love will be my motivation. There will be meditations of love and healing, which must be done to make things within me whole again. There will be prayers for inner peace. 

 I will build this life, step by step, one heartbeat at a time, with love. This beautiful house needs the sounds of friends, family, laughter and love in it. And so I will fill it with these.

I have often said that that which brings you love, will bring you peace. That what brings you Peace will bring you happiness. 

Most think that a life of love is easy, but it’s not. It takes a lot of work to have love, peace and happiness. And by that I mean that you have to set your intentions every day to be your best, to pray and love God, to be willing to be a vessel of His love, even when it’s not easy. You must set the intention every day, and then at some point it becomes a habit, and a habit becomes a way of life. 

You must also work to protect your love and intention in your life. So many times we can get sidetracked by others and their drama or their path when it is not meant for us. It doesn’t make those people bad, we just have to be picky with whom we choose to have at our table. Those who would be destructive or detrimental to our journey must not be allowed to stay. I used to wonder why my mother would not let some people close to us, and now I see that in her wisdom, she recognized those who would disrupt our life. This ability is needed to provide continuity in our lives if we are to keep love and peace at the helm.

And so begins this journey. I am still grieving, still figuring things out, still finding solid ground in which to grow roots. But I think that love is a good foundation. And all love originates from God. And so I pray.  

Home Sweet Home

Sometimes in life there are moments that are truly indescribable.  This past weekend had many of those for me. It was the first time I was back at the family compound since both Mom and Dad died.  Driving up the driveway I could feel the emotions starting from the pit of my stomach, holding in my throat then finally making it out of my eyes and running down my cheeks.  There are some places you see that after they owners have died, that place just loses its soul. It looks sad and lonely.  It wasn’t like that at the family compound.

It was extraordinarily strange to be there when they were not in residence. Before I even got out of the car I was crying.  After taking a moment to sob, I stepped out of the car, and I could feel them.  They were everywhere.  They were in the air, in the crickets, in the sound of the frogs, in the grass as I walked to the front door.

And stepping in the house was an experience in itself.  I remember my dad talking about how he went in it was like Mom gave him a huge hug.  I had not felt it until I stepped through the door. And it was as if both rushed over to embrace me.  I took a moment to look around, feel them, have all the wonderful memories that flooded my mind and heart.

And that night I slept so good, knowing they were there with me, watching over.

My sister arrived the next morning and the next two days were spent going through Mom and Dad’s things with so much love.  Who else would they want sorting through, deciding who should have what?  Who else would they want to have laugh and talk about all the memories? I felt as if they were delighted to know that we loved most of their things as much as they did.  I felt that they were pleased at the legacy.

The hardest part was Dad’s office.  And my sister and I both cried as we saw all his work, accomplishments, degrees and records.  We loved him so.  And then his workshop, which was as sacred as his office.  So many tools and memories of him making this or fixing that.  I will forever thnk of him when I smell sawdust.

It was a bittersweet joy. Ne we all must experience at one time or another.. going through the belongings of parents and loved ones.  A few items we wondered where they came from and what was the history.  Mom and dad were so private that we would never be allowed to search through when they were alive.  And we wanted so bad to call them and ask what they story was with this piece of that item.

But maybe in a way it is better to not know.  Our parents and people and have lives long before we come along.  And maybe those items with unknown stories are a good reminder of that.  And to always ask questions and hear stories when you can.

The Just Me Celebration

To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. – Shakespeare

It occurred to me this morning that it is just me.  Usually when I think about this, it is a lonely feeling.  Mom and Dad are gone, I have no children, so it is just me.  And it will be just me at the holiday season.  But something else happened, I realized that this can be a celebration rather than a pity party.

This morning while talking to the counselor, she asked what the roots I am looking for look like.  I told her family and friends.  She said no who, what…And to think about that.  Those core values and things that are important to who I am, what I want my life to be and what I want it to feel like.

Beyond family and friends, there is service, faith, love, adventure and travel, and writing. Because it is just me, I can make my roots, my life what I want it to be. That statement and task can seem very daunting and overwhelming in its bigness.  It’s the entire world, the whole universe, how can I choose? How can I possibly comprehend an expanse that vast?

But when you define who you are not only by people, but by values, then the focus comes into sharper view.  It is still the universe, but by defining those core values that are my roots, I know where to look in the world to follow who I am and hope to be.

What if during the holidays, for example, I fill myself with these roots, so that I can serve and give to others?  That way I can celebrate it just being me and that options are open, instead of it being such a lonely time.  I have always wanted to be home on Christmas Eve, in my own bed.  What if this Christmas I am?  What if on Christmas Eve I snuggle up with my furry babies or what if I have people over?  What if I celebrate and carry out Mom and Dad’s legacy that way?  What if I follow how I want life to feel, and fill myself with love, faith, service…so that my friends and family can enjoy my fullness? What if I am true to myself and bring life to me? what is that old saying about change your attitude and change your world?

When something happens that shakes us to the core, whether it is a divorce, loss of parents or child or other loved one, loss of job, love or whatever, we can struggle to figure out who we are afterwards. OK, this event happened, now what?  What do I do? where do I start? Who am I?  We can get depressed.  And that is normal. We have to grieve what we have lost, and that takes time. It takes a lot of heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching searching and figuring out.  We have to turn ourselves inside out and take a good look in the mirror, then try to turn ourselves right side out again – without strangling ourselves in the process (which for a klutz like me can be hard).

When bad things happen, when our world is torn apart and put upside down, we have a choice: Let it drag us down like a ball and chain, making us bitter, OR using it as a stepping stone to rise above.  I choose, and will always choose, the latter.  But how?  And once you make that decision, what does it look like?  I don’t know exactly, but I am in the process of figuring it out.  And I think that defining what my roots are, who I am at the core that will not change, is a start.  And then staying true to that core, that is how you do it.  We can find out together. So stay tuned…

In the meantime, I celebrate.  I am not alone in this world, but whatever my life is to be, it has to start with just me.

The First Mother’s Day: Watching Over Me

We all have those times were we just need to get away, step outside of our little worlds, take a break and see things from a different perspective.  That was this weekend for me.  The grief counselors told me that Mother’s Day would be a trigger. It would be an emotional day, so plan for it and do something meaningful.  And indeed it was.  Oddly enough, I loved seeing the all the posts and pictures of everyone with their Mother’s.  It made me grateful that I had mine for 43 years. It was reassuring and made me feel good that the world had not stopped just because my mother was gone. But I still did miss her deeply.

The plan was to go to the beach, relax, have a good time, eat, drink and be as merry as possible, while remembering and honoring my mother.  As it turned out, she had a gift for me too. As I sat in a restaurant Friday night, I saw an older lady facing me in the next booth over.  We caught each other’s eyes and connected, looking at each other smiling for several seconds, maybe 15-20 or more.  This happened several times during dinner.  We could not stop or keep our eyes off each other when this happened.  And I thought her eyes and smile look just like my mother’s.

When she and her family got up to leave, I had to go over and just tell her that she reminded me so much of my mother who had passed away last year, and that is why I kept looking at her and smiling. That my mother was my best friend. I said thank you so much and wished her a happy Mother’s Day. She just smiled and took my hands.  Her family said she was 92 and she shook her head yes.  And smiled at me again. Then she looked at me and said she loved me and gave me the most wonderful hug.  And for a moment, I had my mother back, I had my last hug and I love you with her.  For a moment, my mother was there with me.  And it was wonderful.

That lady and her family will never know how wonderful that moment was, how much it meant, or what a gift it was to me. But my Mother knows.  I think that was her gift to me. Yes, she is still looking after me. But then she always did.  I remember in 2013, after my last court date concerning the attack.  I had to face the man who attacked me in court.  And at the end of the day I was emotionally distraught and exhausted.  When I get like that, my body temperature drops and I cannot get warm.  That night, she turned the heat up as high as it would go, wrapped me up in blankets and stayed up all night watching over me in the hotel room to make sure that I slept and did not have nightmares.  She didn’t sleep at all, just watching over me, like only a mother could.

On Mother’s Day, I sat on the beach in the sun for a long time.  It was a bit crowded with families and young people enjoying the mild weather and sunshine. And when it was time, I took the envelope with the cards and letter to my amazing mother, walked to the water and started swimming out to were the water was deeper.  And as I swam, the water was cool and washed over me, caressing my heart as I made my way out deeper with the envelope.  It started to come apart as I swam, my mother anxious to read what was written inside.  And when a big wave came towards me, I let it go, for the waves to carry to her so she could open and read it.  I watched the envelope as it disappeared into the water. And I whispered that I loved her now and always.

It was a beautiful moment, soft and gentle, in the ocean, with people swimming and splashing around.  A private moment between mother and daughter, only seen by God. It was perfect. And as I eventually swam back to the shore, I heard her whisper to me in the wind, a message only for me.

Today is her birthday, she would have been 76.  I miss her so much, but I also feel her love around me, watching over me now just like she did in that hotel room four years before.