July Celebration

This year, this July 4th, there are many reasons to celebrate.  This is the year of freedom and happiness.  Last year at this time I celebrated in a treehouse in the middle of the woods and it was wonderful. But I was still dealing with the loss of both parents and 3 siblings, and the crazy ex still acting crazy.  So even there was a lot of emotional baggage. The year before that I was in a hospital room, praying that my mother would survive, because I had o idea just how sick she was or how long or how bad she had suffered.

They say that time heals, and it does.  And isn’t that the way it is in life?  Sometimes you have to have time and distance, you must allow yourself the space to deal with heavy issues.  Losing family members or any loved one, is one of the worst things anyone can go through.  So it is natural to need time to grieve and to figure life out in the new normal. To get perspective, to get your feet back under you, to replant your roots.

This year, life is better, clearer and so much better. I am in a much better place emotionally. Having given myself the time and space needed. After making sure that my life is a sacred space of Peace.  I have long said that which gives you peace will bring you happiness.  You cannot be happy if there is no peace. And now my life has peace.

Yes, there are still moments of anger, especially at my full sister for still causing drama, and at the crazy ex for all the drama he caused when I was at my most vulnerable. But even those are fading as I get more comfortable in my new life.

So this July 4th is all about the fireworks, all about the fun, all about the love and all about the Peace.  Can Peace be exciting and thrilling?  Absolutely.  Peace never means boring, at least not to me, because only when you have peace can you truly enjoy life to the fullest.

Happy July4th. Happy birthday to this country, the best country in the world.  Not only am I thankful for the privilege of being born here, but I am thankful for this life, those in it, and the peace I have in my heart.


Continued Prayers

If you have a moment today, please take a moment and pray. Cancer is very hard, and going through treatments is grueling. I saw both of my parents go through it with Chemo, not immunotherapy, but there is no treatment that is easy. Pray for her, and her family please.

The Concert

All work and no play, makes life no fun.

We all need a little bit of fun in life.  No matter who we are, or what we do, or how much we love what we do, we still have to have some fun.  We have to play. we need to step away from work and laugh, smile, enjoy.

And so Sunday was for me.  A concert. Three of my favorite all times bands.  And I loved it. It was loud, we were rained on, and it was fabulous. And there is another lined up for this Saturday. I have been so run down and exhausted, but fun gives me energy for more.

I enjoyed the music, I sang the lyrics as loud as I could, I danced to the music. I ate questionable food that was delicious and enjoyed the feeling of the rain on my skin.  It was fabulous.

So go out, have some fun, and let your hair down.  It’s summer, time to enjoy life.  You won’t regret it.

The Accidental Staycation

When you do contract work, you have a lot of flexibility.  If you need time off, have an appointment, if you need to work later or get off earlier..typically as long as your works gets done, most places give you as much flexibility as you need. However, it swings both ways and it that regard, you are at the mercy of those for whom you are working. I was told earlier this week that the team with which I work would be pretty much off this week.  It is holiday week, summer and most are out of the office.  Therefor, I would have off too.

The short notice did not allow for any trips to be taken, and I am happy with that.  How many times have I thought to myself “wish I had a week to get my house in oder…or to play in the garden, or to relax and catch up on movies, or reading, or writing…or all of the above?

And so it goes.  I will have my first official staycation of the year.  A few days of sleeping later because trying to gt used to going to bed earlier, and rising in time to enjoy cool summer mornings on the back deck, with coffee. There will be cleaning, and organizing, and unpacking and planning.  And exercising. There will be hiking and visiting a Buddist center. There will be wine and laughter and friends. And a lot of wonderful.

I am so excited about this unexpected  time off that I am about to pop.  Tickled pink and planning all kinds of thing for the next 9 days. Life is what you make it, my friend. SO make it good, and make it happy.

Make it Count

Anniversaries often make us contemplate all that has happened in the last year, both the good and bad.  You examine both he good and the bad that has happened.

I was a mess last year at this time. I just lost Dad, so the first anniversary of losing Mom was especially hard. But this year, I am doing rather well. I have settled in quite nicely into the new life, though it was not easy at first. And I have changed quite a bit in two years, changed quite a bit in the last 12 months.  I am not as tolerant as I used to be, but I am more compassionate.  That statement might seem quite contradictory, but it isn’t.  I am not tolerant of people or things that disturb my peace of mind.  But going through the past two years has taught me much about compassion and empathy. The past two years has also taught me a lot about strength. You are often much stronger than you ever thought, and you can handle more than you ever thought you could.

I know that I am much stronger than I thought be or even wanted to be.  I never thought that I could take care of Mom or Dad by myself. never thought that I could make those kinds of decisions myself. But I did. And I honored them. Never thought that could I do what needed to be done.  But God gives you the strength you need.

I have learned that my family is not blood family. My blood family is gone. My family now are my friends. And I can count on those friends no matter what.  They are better than blood because you cannot help who your family is, but you can choose who you your friends. The people in my life are loyal, honest, smart, have loads of common sense and are very low drama.

I have also to be very careful about where you grow your roots – make sure it is good, fertile, solid ground. And if it’s not, move and replant. You are not a tree, you can move if you don’t like where you are.

I have learned that life is so very fragile and short, and so take advantage of every second.I have also learned the value of being still.  I have my roots planted firmly with my friends. And now those roots are growing deep, establishing the foundation of my life. And that takes time.  Beautiful, wonderful, amazing time.

And so I know my wonderful mother would be proud of me.  She knows how hard I have tried, how hard I have worked.  She and God know. And so with her 2nd anniversary approaching, I know that my heart is free as I move forward.

There are still things to handle and accomplishments to make.  I need to be better at housekeeping, and those last 20lbs are still lurking on my hips. I need to organize my closet and clear out the junk drawer.  But life is good.  There are fireflies to watch at night.  There are good friends to talk to. There is wine to drink. There are sunsets and sunrises – and coffee to be able to watch those sunrises. There are soft blankets and good movies. The are comfy couches and kitties that needs pets. And there is much to celebrate this anniversary. Because life is what matters. And we are only given this one, tiny life. Make it count. Make it happy.

Toxic Shock

“Regardless of how anyone treats you, you stand to benefit. While some people teach you who you do want to be, others teach you who you don’t want to be. And it’s the people who teach you who you don’t want to be that provide some of the most lasting and memorable lessons on social graces, human dignity, and the importance of acting with integrity.”

There is an illness called toxic shock syndrome that is a physical illness.  But I think that it could be applied to toxic people as well. Have you ever been around someone who is so toxic that you just feel terrible and exhausted when you are around them?  I think that is because these people are so horrible that they are a shock tour system – thus what I call Toxic Shock Syndrome.

These days I am very happy, even joyful.  It was not that long ago that I was unhappy and miserable, mainly because of grief.  But I have come out on the other side and have learned quite a bit through the journey.  One of those lessons is that happiness is a lot of work, but so very worth it.

“The moment you feel like you have to prove your worth to someone is the moment to absolutely and utterly walk away.” – Alysia Harris

Because I have learned who to keep keep in my life, and from whom to walk away.  This is a very powerful lesson to learn, no matter what age or place in life. When you are grieving, or going through a hard time, you have very little energy.  So what little bit of energy you do have must be spent wisely.  There is no time for unnecessary drama. The people who cause chaos in your life are emotionally abusive and will suck every bit of life, energy and air right out of the room. That is why it is so important that once you identify who these people are, you get them out and keep them out.

“Know when to leave the table when respect is no longer being served.”

Sometimes these people are friends or associates, sometimes a boss, sometimes a coworker. And because of that they can be hard to get away from.  Even if you cannot extract them from your life, you can choose to limit your time with them. And results are worth it.

But what about when these toxic people are family?  That is unfortunate, but if it happens then you need to walk away from them too. Especially if they are family. Because family knows how to get to you, they know your buttons and how to make it hurt. Because our families know us so well, we are extremely vulnerable to them.  So if they are the kind of people who are abusive and manipulative, they will have no problem hurting you to get what they want.

Unfortunately, this is something many people can relate to, including myself. My closest sister in age and location is extremely abusive and toxic.  Flinging around hurtful accusations, causing drama, refusing to help with anything.  She refused to be there when Mom died, she refused to help take care of Dad, has refused to help take care of the family compound and has so far refused to help pay for any upkeep of the property as well (even though she makes almost 6 figures more than I). Maybe that is why she has time to accuse me of things like keeping her from seeing Dad for 2 years before his death (Odd, because her kids remember her spending time with him on his birthday, her birthday and Christmas). Also accusing me of plotting to take all of her kids’ inheritance away (something I have no power to do, even if I wanted to, which I don’t). She seems to forget that the executor of a will has no power and can only do what is specified in a will.

The result has been a permanent divide.  I cannot have that kind of drama and discord in my life, caused by such hurtful and emotionally abusive accusations. Being in contact with her is extremely detrimental to my mental and emotional health.  So I choose to leave the table.  To stay would teach her that what she is doing is not only OK, but acceptable as well.  Which it is not.  While this kind of treatment is very normal in her world, it is not in mine.

“Sometimes walking away has nothing to do with weakness, and everything to do with strength. We walk away not because we want others to realize our worth and value, but because we finally realize our own.” –   Robert Tew

We teach people how to treat us.  If we let them think it is OK, then they will continue. So, if you tell them that whatever they are doing is not OK, and they continue, then they have shown- through their own actions – that they do not care. And if they do not care enough about you to treat you in a way that is kind and not hurtful, then why should you care enough to have them in your life? Know your worth. Know you have the right to be treated with kindness and love and have the right to walk away when someone is abusive to you or toxic to your life.

Why do nasty, toxic people insist on causing drama and pain for others?  I don’t know.  Maybe they are so miserable that they cannot stand to see others happy and feel the need to make others miserable as well.  Maybe they are truly so selfish that they are oblivious to the rest of the world past their nose.  Maybe they have been abused themselves, and think that their behavior is normal.  Maybe it is a combination of these and many other reasons. But you cannot concern yourself with why they are the way they are, only whether you are willing to accept the havoc they wreak on your life and emotions.

And when we get these life sucking vampires out of our lives, it is a weight lifted.  There is peace, there is calm, there is room for good things. That is because dealing with these people takes so much energy, time and emotion, that we may not even realize how much until they are gone.  And when all of that energy is not being taken up by their ridiculous drama, there is room for positive interactions with positive people.

Live is too short to have toxic people in your life.  Cut them out, leave them behind and let them make someone else miserable.

“Knowing when to walk away, is Wisdom. Being able to, is Courage. Walking away with Grace, and your held head high, is Dignity.” – Ritu Ghatourey