The Blessed Risk Takers

Blessed are the risk takers, soothsayers and poets; the empaths, the impassioned and the alchemists.  For they are the ones who know the joy and pain and pleasure of humanity.

I have often written about taking risks and always remaining curious about the world around you. I believe this with all my being. It is one of my theories in life that when you stop being curious about the world around you, about life in general and the people in it, then you stop growing.  You cease to truly live and are only existing.

So much joy is found in asking questions and discovering the world around you.  The people, the stories, the adventures.  Life is amazingly beautiful, if you take the time to look around.

It has been a while since I have been able to truly be curious about life and all the miracles involved. Healing, planning, organizing, and general upkeep took a lot of my energy. It took all of my energy actually.  It reminds me of the song:

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep…

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn

…and sometimes it is necessary to take some time from all that is magical and external, to heal what is sacredly internal.  But when that time is done…

We often feel as if we are bursting at the seams with life, opportunity and adventure.  As if the door has flung open on a spring day after a long, cold winter. It is as if we are seeing the world in color for the first time and cannot get enough of the colors.  The hard times makes us feel joy from such a deeper place than before, that it’s almost blinding in a warm and wonderful way.

I was afraid this holiday season would be filled with sadness and grief.  Indeed, it is there, just below the surface.  But I hear my mother’s voice, see my father’s gentle smile, and know my best friend Rex’s words of enjoying every taste of life is possible.  I hope I make them all proud.  In a way, I am living life for the three of them too….I am forging my own way, creating new traditions, as I carry them with me, I carry their hearts in my heart (thank you ee cummings). They are with me, everywhere, in everything I do and see and say. Their love tickling my heart as I smile and look up at the sun, feeling the warmth.

And I am back to myself. I am taking risks, blazing my path forward. Love of life, thirst for knowledge and a hunger for love are guiding me, but mostly, prayer and the Hand of God, as He directs my path. I am willing. I am done waiting.  I am ready. Life is here. I will be like a sponge and drink every drop of every magical moment.  I will discover what is behind the wall, the curtain, the door.  And all of it is mine for the taking, I do not have to choose.

I will smile, and laugh, and love, and kiss, and have wine, and be with friends, and make memories, and be with family, and those who I love and who love me the best and most.  I will sit by the fireside, making moments at the hearth of life.  I will love life with all that I have in me, with every fiber of my being, with a calm cool passion that will burn those who are not worthy of a seat at my table.  Once again, my heart beats fiercely and freely.  The air is crisp in my lungs and the Earth is soft under my feet. With faith lading me, love calling me, and life lighting the path, nothing is impossible.

Hang on, it is going to be an incredible adventure.

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Waiting in the Ready

I have recently been asked how you know that you are ready for a serious relationship?  When you have been through so much and have had to rebuild yourself, taking time to just focus in on yourself, how do you know when you are ready? My answer was and is follows:

I have been through a lot, a lot of pain a lot of loss. But I’ve also been through all of that alone, something I don’t want anymore. The work that I had to do on myself was necessary to heal so that I could be a whole person when I offered myself and my heart to someone else. I don’t believe in half-assing it, or only being a broken version of yourself. You need to be whole. And I don’t just want to be in a relationship because I don’t want to be alone. I’m fine alone, I do alone very well. So I don’t need to be in a relationship, but I want to be. Because I want to enjoy life with another person, I want to build something larger than myself, I want to see the world with someone else. I’ve served my family well, I took care of my parents to the very end. And now I want to take care of my partner, and have them take care of me. I’ve given myself the lives of others, and it’s time that I give myself to building my life with another person, so that we can build our lives.

The fact is that after a hard emotional experience, including the end of a long term relationship and you have to take time to heal. If you don’t you be toxic for anyone who is around you because will bring your issues into the next relationship. And that is not fair to the other person

No one signs up to be a rebound relationship, so why put someone else through it? It is not kind. You will also attract the wrong kind of partner and be willing to accept mistreatment if you are not healed first. That is because many times our self-esteem takes a hit after the demise of a relationship.

When our self-esteem is low, we end up making decisions out of fear, not love – fear of being alone, fear of being hurt, fear of being abandoned. Decisions made out of fear are never the right ones and will usually end in disaster.

In this day and age, it seems like many ex couples are almost in a race to see who can get the best, hottest replacement the fastest. Don’t do it.  Sit a few dances out if you must, but make sure that you are healthy before getting back in the game. The one who gets another the fastest often is the one who ends up in an unhealthy, co-dependent relationship that is harmful to all involved.  It solves nothing but rather perpetuates the issues of both individuals in the new relationship. And relationships are hard enough without dooming them to failure.

My most recent ex rushed out and now has a 19 year old; he is 50. A 50 year old essentially dating a child and taking advantage of her issues for his own nefarious benefit is not healthy nor does it show any honor. Don’t be like him. Take time to heal; spend time alone and get to know yourself, go to therapy, get a hobby, do whatever you need to do to make sure that you are emotionally stable enough to benefit another human being.

Healing is hard work though, because you must not only face, but conquer your demons. You must take an honest look at yourself in the mirror and take stock of what you do and don’t see.  You work on yourself and your shortcomings.  That takes courage. It also takes patience.

So how do I know that I am ready and that I am whole? I guess when you are ready, you feel it. And I feel good. I feel happy and excited about the future again. I do not feel like I need someone around, but I do want to enjoy life with another. There is nothing to prove to anyone. I am not worried about who is or is not impressed. There is not rush either. I have faith in the process that slow and steady is the best way, and I have faith in God that what is meant to be will be. I want love, I want to give love, and I want to build a life with a partner. I am not perfect, but flawed and complicated. And that is OK. No one is perfect, so maybe the key is to make sure that you are whole, as imperfect as you are, and find a whole person whose imperfections compliment your own. Then be honest and enjoy the adventure with an open heart and sound mind. So hang on, because this promises to be quite a ride.

Helping Others to Success

They say that one of the best ways to help yourself is to help another person.  This is very true and I am seeing that again from personal experience. I am helping my nephew with goal setting and how to make those goals into reality. This has made me realize how lazy I have been with my own goals, or maybe just very busy with other things in life. But now it is time to refocus and start back.  In a way, my nephew nd I are going through a similar phase – new beginnings, trying new things and accomplishing our dreams.  We are both starting over, if you will.

But how do you even start?  I don’t know what works for everyone, but I do know what has worked for me.

Have pride:  First you must have pride in yourself, in your dreams and in your abilities.  You must look around at where you are and have enough pride in yourself as a person that you want better than what you have right now.  Pride gets a bad rap, but it is what will help motivate us to rise and do better, be better and want better.  Without that level of pride, we just slump on the couch and accept whatever is given to us in life.  That is being too passive.  No one accomplished anything great by just accepting.  You accomplish great things by knowing that you were destined for more and better, that where you start has no bearing on where you end up.

Take an active role: This goes along with the above. You must take an active role in your life.  If you don’t care enough to be active in your life, no one else will either Don’t; just sit back and take it. Stand up and make it happen for yourself.  Make opportunities, seek them out, take them when they come.  Once you make your wishes known, the Universe will start lining things up for you.. And opportunities beget other opportunities.

Do at least one thing:  This combines two theories of mine into one.  First is an Elanor Roosevelt Quote: Do one thing every day that scares you. And the other theory which is do for yourself first when you are attaining your dreams.  For instance. While my nephew is with me, I have asked him to do things around the house to help put.  But before that, he should research schools, their admission requirements and places that are hiring.  He should do these things for himself first. And the older you get the harder it is to do for yourself first. But the people who love you will understand and will be there for you to help and cheer you on.

Get rid of the dead weight: We have all had those people in our lives who suck all our energy away and into their drama and problems. Don’t get sucked in. It is easy to let these people get us sidetracked with their drama, conflict and useless tale chasing.  While everyone has a messy life every now and then those who are constantly going through drama and conflict need to be cut.  If those people stay in your life. Then days, weeks, month, or even years in some cases, can slip away before you know it and you have not accomplished any of your goals and dreams.

Have a ridiculous work ethic:  Too make it, you must first make up your mind as to what you want, then you must be willing to work harder than you have ever worked in your life to make it happen.  You must believe it with such passion that it has no choice but to happen. Visualize your success, make a goal board, do whatever you must do to stay motivated to work toward what you want.

And pray:  For me, because I am both spiritual and religious, this is actually one of the most important things. I pray for guidance and wisdom in my choices. I pray for opportunities and patience in waiting.  I pray for a lot of things. For me, my faith is an integral part of success and accomplishing my dreams.

Never listen to the odds:  The odds don’t matter. I have never thought about the odds, because in my mind, they do not apply to me.  I will simply keep going until I either succeed or possibly change my mind.  I know, you are not supposed to change your mind, but sometimes it does happen.  When I was growing up, I was going to be an academy award winning actress.  Now, that still may happen, but I became a writer instead, because as I grew my dreams changed. Even then the “odds” were not in my favor, if I ever stopped to pay attention to them.  But here I am, writing away and being happy.

There are thousands of books written on the topic. But helping my nephew has motivated me.  After such a tumultuous period, it is time to get back to living, loving, taking risks and building the life of my dreams. The best way to help yourself, is by helping others.  You learn about that person, about yourself, about the process and you build up some good karma.

Satisfaction Guaranteed

It is always good to have dreams and goals. it is always good to strive, every day, to be better than you were the before.  Because life is always about the journey, and we must never stop being curious.

But in all the searching, goal setting and striving, we must also not forget to be satisfied. We must not forget to be present and enjoy where we are currently.

I wrote about being sick of the city and the rat race, and I am. However, I still love the house I just moved into and will be happy here, until the tie is right to move again, whenever that might be.  I love making this new house a home.  I love having people over to help make memories.  Where ever I go,I want my home to be filled with love and friends and laughter and good times.  I want people to walk into my home and feel welcome. Because they are.

But you cannot make others feel welcome if you are constantly fixated on the future, or what you do not have.  And if you focus on everything that you don;t have, you will never be present and never will you be satisfied.

In that sense, satisfaction is a decision.  Yes we have all seen the memes about happy people don’t have everything they want, nut the do want and appreciate every thing that they have.  And even Einstein talked about being quietly satisfied leads to much more happiness than constant restlessness and always looking for better.

And I like my little life.  While I do strive to be better, I stop and notice and am present in where I am now.  And you must do that in order to be happy.  Being happy in the present in the reward for all the hard work done in the past.  If you do not take the time to enjoy what you have now then all that work was in vain. That is the thing about life, eventually it all evens out, but you must have the attitude for it first.  You must decide to be present to fully enjoy where you are at any given moment.

I like my job, love my career, I am even satisfied with my personal life.  I say that because you have to have a sense of yourself, of liking who you are and where you are if you are going to be good for anyone else. I took time to heal after all the loss, because I wanted to be a whole person when I offered to date again and give my heart away. This took time, and again being very present in the moment.

So maybe the secret to satisfaction is just being present, while still having goals and striving to be better every day. Maybe it is soaking up every little drop and moment life has to offer, like a sponge.  Live passionately by choosing to love your life now.  Even if there are things to change, or work that needs to be done..  That is OK, that does not mean we cannot enjoy what is now.

And this is where I am.  In this little home in East Cobb, with my little life, working my job and my career, making a home that is warm and welcoming and building love.  Where ever that leads.  I am happy and satisfied. Is life perfect? Not by a long shot. Do I still have a lot for work to do?  Absolutely.  But that is what life is all about. And I am in. All the way.

The Calling of the Country

As humans, we are all multi-faceted and have layers.  All of us have different sides that change depending upon the situation or lighting.  While the core of us may stay the same, there are always surprising new things to learn about someone.

Many assume that because I have lived in New York, and Atlanta for many years, that I am a city dweller.  That the concrete streets and sounds of people and movement signal that I am at home.  Many are surprised to find that I am, very much, a country girl.

I grew up in the country, wild and free. As  child I ran as far as I could go, until I was so tired that I could not go any more. And still there were miles of wilderness to explore. The only rule was to be home by lunch or before dark.  There was no worry about crime, or kidnapping or any kind of danger.  Well, other than snakes or alligators, but they were easy enough to avoid.  I climbed trees, played in streams, jumped in the a=water and went where I wanted.  It was all safe.

I chased fireflies at night and feel asleep to the sound of frogs, crickets and cicadas.  I was free.  And it was wonderful.  We had goats and chickens and geese and dogs and cats and ducks, and everything but horses. And we took care of them every morning before school and every evening before dinner.

I would not trade my childhood for anything. Yes there are many opportunities in the city for jobs and houses and theater and many interesting things.  But the country feeds my soul. The sound of the woods, the sight of the trees, taking care of animals.  I love it all.  And one day, I will leave the city and return to the country.  It is calling.

I am tired of the hurry of the city. And that is the thing about writing. I can go where I want to go and still write.  Oh, the temptations of where whisper to me at night. And I answer in my dreams, planning now to turn into reality.  It is the calling of the country.

October Magic

It happens to me every October. I fall in love.  With the weather,with the temperatures, with the festivals, with the pumpkins, the sweaters I pull out that have been hidden since last winter,  with the  crisp, fresh air, with snuggling but he fireplace and with the possibilities.

The fact is that Fall is fun, it is magic, it is delicious.  It is when the blankets come out and the fuzzy warm socks are put on.  I love this time of year. It is when I feel the best and coziest. I love having company over in the fall, I love the cold morning and cool afternoons.

And this year, this fall, is full of promise. It is full of possibilities. As I plan and work to make the rest of the year the great and next year spectacular.  Fall just feels good. And so I enjoy the magic…

Regrettable Regrets

Regret is defined as feeling sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity). Tonight someone told me one of their biggest regrets. One day I hope to hear the story of that regret, but it made me think of my own life.

I have long said that I regret nothing, bu that is not rue.  It is simply rationalization that what has happened in my life, whatever I have done and said, whatever the consequences were or lost opportunities have been, they made me into who I am today.  I am complicated and flawed, but I still like how I am, so to change anything in the past, would be to change who I am presently.  And I would never want to do that.

Are there things that I would do differently if I had the chance? Absolutely.  But that is not the same as regret. If I knew then what I know now…I would hug my mother a lot longer than I did that last time.  And I would give her a glass of wine, take her outside and ask her those questions I wish I knew the answers to now.  I would hug my Father so tight, and would not have rested that Sunday, I would have gotten up early and spent that last day with him. Because I did not know that it would be the last day. And I would tell them both that I love them, just one more time. Outside of those things with my parents, I can;t think of anything I would change really.

Then why do we regret?  I don’t know.  Maybe it is the every human trait of running all the what-ifs through our head.  But would things have turned out any better if we had done things differently? We often assume that missed opportunities would have led to a better place, but would they have really?  We never think that maybe if we had gone out with that other person, or made a different decision, or taken that job, or whatever, that maybe things would have turned out worse.

Life takes us on a series of unexpected twists and turns. I have learned that life rarely turns out the way any of us thought, much less planned. And that’s OK.  Think of all the adventures we would miss if everything went the way we thought is was supposed to.  We might have fewer regrets, but we would also not have the life we do not, or be the people we are.

Mostly, I like my life and even the bad spots have made me into a better person. The key is to realize that things happen for a reason and have faith in that process.  I am whoever I am supposed to be, right at this moment.  I am were I am supposed to be, right at this moment. Those bad times –  the mistakes, the missteps, mishaps and failures have all taught me important lessons.  They have all been a part of a life well lived and well loved.

Truth be told, I am a risk taker, and there are few times when I have not taken the risk.  And I have never regretted the risks I have taken, even when they were mistakes.  But if the mistakes you have made turned you into the person you are now, can they really be mistakes? Maybe not.

So live more and regret less.  Life is short, take the risk. Make the call, take the job, travel to that place, do what it is that you really want to do. We must know that in our hearts, we did the best we could with what we knew or what we had. And most importantly, we must forgive ourselves to let go of the regrets.