Hoping

A year ago a fragile heart was busted open.
Shattered.

Words that seemed real were only lies.
Exaggerations.

Protective walls, then all that remained was rubble.
Dust.

A tarnished angel appeared bringing blessings.
Dreams.

Without intent a new world opened.
Blossomed.

Immeasurable changes caused by openness and honesty.
Necessity.

A beautiful new perspective with a lighter step and smiles.
Happiness.

Loneliness creeps in, pushed back by the accomplishments.
Success.

The journey always more beautiful with the promise of tomorrow.
Hoping.

Blessings

I have been repeatedly reminded in the past weeks that God DOES answer my prayers. It may not be the moment I ask/beg/plead, but God does come through. I need to remember the blessings and not what I perceive to be the deficiencies. I need to be patient because I have often been blessed with that which was my goal. I only need open my eyes and see that my dreams (the good ones) do often come true.

Life is like a video game

I love “Forrest Gump.” Great movie, great character. I’d love to agree with him about the entire life and chocolates thing, but it really depends on my attitude each morning.

Some days I wake up feeling like I can conquer the world and by the end of the day I feel I’ve eaten a box of the most delicious assorted chocolate truffles in the world.

Some days I wake up feeling like I can conquer the world only to feel that I’ve been duped into eating bad chocolate that leaves a waxy taste in my mouth.

Some days I just am not in the mood for chocolate. Okay. That’s not true, I always want chocolate, but some days I just “KNOW” that anything I bite into is going to taste rancid.

Anyway… as I was getting ready this morning and reflecting on my crazy rollercoaster of a ride over the past few years, I said thank you for all of the lessons I’ve learned. I’m learning to say thank you and appreciate the painful lessons because they have brought me to who and where I am. I’m a firm believer in the idea that you will continue to be presented with the same lesson over and over in different variations until you learn it. When you learn it and move on, you “earn” different lessons – some good and some bad. It’s truly a “moving up” kind of process. If we learn, we graduate on to the next lesson. Some lessons are hard, some aren’t so bad and some bring a huge sense of peace. We have no way of knowing what life is bringing next.

As I dried my hair, I played a few games of solitaire on my phone. Frankly, it’s not as fulfilling as using actual cards, but when all of the cards are in place and the system flips them all into their respective piles and the cards do a happy dance, it makes me smile. I say that with little embarrassment. Sometimes it’s the simple things that help you celebrate a victory – even if it is just placing cards where they should be – that bring the most heartfelt smiles.

As the cards were flying into their places, it hit me — when you put the critical pieces together, other parts can come together without direct help. It’s the entire concept of putting things in place in order to find serenity versus finding serenity in order for things to fall into place. Which comes first? You have to do the work on you internally before life will fall into place. Inner peace is the ultimate goal, not a clean house or an orderly pantry. Putting physical things where they belong may bring personal satisfaction for a moment, but until you have the peace within your soul, you’ll still be unfulfilled; you’ll still feel that you missed something.  You can’t win a game of solitaire unless you start with the base cards and build on those.

It’s the foundation we build that will determine our success when facing our next life challenge. That’s what is pretty cool about video games. You have to learn your lessons and win a level before you can move ahead. Your future success builds on your past learnings and effort. If you can’t move past a certain level, you need to keep repeating it, until you learn the strategy you need to; until you learn the lesson. You’ll never win the game unless your foundation is solid and you keep making an effort. You can’t jump ahead levels – you are where you are supposed to be and where you are based on your past efforts. The best part (in my opinion) is that with every level mastered, you see the fruits of your labor: you can watch the cards do a happy dance or see how you are moving up with the level counter. It’s tangible.

Unfortunately life isn’t that clean cut. We don’t always see the lessons we learn until we are faced with similar situations again and need to make a choice. When we see a different outcome, then we know we have learned that lesson and are moving on.

With all respect to Forrest, I’d prefer to know what kind of chocolates I’m biting into because chocolate is a sacred creation to me.  🙂
But, I can accept that I have no idea what the next level of this game of life is going to bring my way, but I am up for the challenge.

 

My facade

The façade begins to crumble
causing rumbling beneath my feet.
For so long I’ve managed
To keep the appearance of
Being in control.
Although those who know me best,
Understand who I really am.
They see my insecurities.
My weaknesses.
My failures.

Yet they also see my potential.
They provide encouragement, support
And non-judgemental love.
I’ve counted on them
to keep my secrets
Believing that if others knew
That so much of me is only a façade,
Which I’ve hidden behind,
Their opinion of me would change.

As my true self becomes unhidden,
I feel a lightness that
I’ve never felt before.
Despite the uneven ground beneath my feet
and the debris falling around me,
I feel beautiful.
I feel confident.
Things I’ve never felt before.

I’m growing stronger.
I’m beginning to break down
The walls of my façade.
I’ve been so afraid to be me,
To allow anyone to know
The entire story behind
Who I am.

I can look back and see
The progress I’ve made.
The road has been long
And full of hurdles.
But it’s getting easier
Without the weight of my past
on my shoulders.
I am blessed for every day
I’ve breathed and look forward
To all of the beautiful things
I know I will find along
The road ahead unburdened
By the walls I’ve carried with me.

 

 

What if everything you know is a dream?

One of my favorite movies with Jim Carrey is “The Truman Show.” It’s a beautifully sad movie about a man who grew up as the star of a television show. The problem was – he didn’t know it was only television. Everything he knew was fake and was planned out by the show writers and producers.

I’ve dabbled with similar thoughts about my own life…

What if it just wasn’t real?
What if everything that I believe is happening is only a dream?
What if the memories I hold to so tightly were only fantasies?
What if real life is so tough that I am lost in imagination only to escape my reality?

Along this train of thought, dear Edgar Allen Poe wrote the following:

     All that we see or seem
           Is but a dream within a dream.

Hmmmmmmmm

What if that mistake I made didn’t really happen? Maybe it was just a figment of my imagination. Maybe my entire Fall of 2013 was just a nightmare that I’m still waking up from?

I dream incredibly vividly. Often they are Fellini-esque dreams with random happenings and odd characters based somehow on people I know. Actually, not unlike my allegedly awake moments.

I don’t have a lot of insight on this, I’m just full of contemplation.

Maybe I’m dreaming right now and that’s why I can’t focus…….

The inconstant moon… and love

O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

I just had yet another lesson or epiphany or whatever you want to call it. I’m wondering if I’m going through a ridiculously fast period of emotional growth or if this is normal when you’re open to hearing what the universe says. Hmmmm

While I was cleaning today, I found a story that my 11 year old son had written. I was stunned. It was VERY good. Particularly for a boy who doesn’t always have that much to say and keeps his nose far too often in video games. I know my son is intelligent and extremely capable, but I had no idea that he had such a fantastic hidden talent. I think he writes dialogue better than I could.

I was at my ex-husband’s this evening to celebrate one of our daughter’s birthdays and asked my son about it. He had the same reaction I used to have (and still often do) when I learn that someone read my writing. He was embarrassed and said he wished I hadn’t read it.

We talked more and I poured well-deserved praise on him. If nothing else, I hope to build up my son’s self-confidence. “If God gives you a gift and you imagine doing something, you should pursue it,” I told him. I explained that it took me 42 years before I had the courage to really let people read my writing. I still cringe every time I hit “publish post,” but he doesn’t need to know that. I want my kids to have the courage I’ve lacked for so long.

My ex said that he hadn’t read the story our son wrote because our son asked him not to. He then brought up the fact that I won 2nd place in a recent writing contest, congratulating me. But, under his breath he mentioned that no one ever lets him read their writing. I can see his perspective and I think this is my lesson for tonight.

I spent so many years hiding what I wrote from my ex-husband. He wasn’t an encouraging type. In fact, I stopped singing around him quite early in our marriage because he mocked me. Once. So fragile is my ego. I sang all through school and was in a show choir in high school, so I know I’m not tone deaf or horrid, but his criticism cut me to the core. My writing is something I’ve held so close to me because of my own fear and I was afraid he’d make a comment that would devastate me. So, during our 18 year relationship he read probably only a total of one or two pages of my writing – and it was only because he found it. Only after our divorce was final last winter could I take the leap and put my thoughts into the universe via this blog. And I’m so incredibly thankful that I did. This has been a wonderful experience. Nail biting and nerve wracking, but incredible.

What does all of this have to do with the moon? Well…

As I was driving the long one mile back to my house from my ex’s, I was admiring the gorgeous full moon and those lines from Shakespeare played over and over in my head.

During my marriage I felt like the ground was always shifting beneath my feet. My husband’s love seemed always variable. I never felt like I did the right thing or enough. I wore myself into the ground trying to make someone happy who just wasn’t able to be happy – not the kind of happy my family was, not the kind of happy my friends were. I know he loved me. I know he still does. But, it was so difficult. And because I felt unsteady and unsure and insecure and all sorts of other things, I was not able to give him all of me. I hid my thoughts, my dreams from him because of the many experiences of being shot down. It was a defense mechanism.

I recognized this in a sense last year when I decided that any relationship I enter into from here on out will be open, inclusive and supportive. I’ve let the last two men I’ve dated read my writing. One I wrote for in a business sense and he read my blog. The other I actually wrote for and he was quite a muse for me. He still is even though we aren’t together. Both of these men brought out confidence in me that I hadn’t experienced in years. And it felt amazing to share that part of me. I am a writer. I always have been. But, could I have called myself a writer when I never let anyone read my work? hmmmmm

I sit here on a Saturday night, alone in my house except for the constant presence of our mini-zoo, contemplating the words of Shakespeare, promises made in the moonlight, the inconstant love I’ve experienced and how I will continue to dream of love found beneath a full moon someday. I finally understand that unless I am all in in any relationship, sharing everything about myself and being true to me, I’m cheating myself out of fulfillment.

 

What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss  that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of  discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but  disastrous.
Thomas Merton

The moon is a loyal companion. It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human. Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.
Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me

    

Irreversable Regrets

In life we all have an unspeakable secret, an irreversible regret, an unreachable dream and an unforgettable love.  – Diego Marchi

Such food for thought.

I struggled with writing this post versus keeping my thoughts to myself. After a really “interesting” weekend with so many eye opening epiphanies and happenings, I was encouraged by a friend to finish this post and send it out to the universe. Maybe I have a message for someone. This quote hit me hard. So… as tough as this one is for me, here goes.

In regard to Diego’s quote – I can name mine:
– A teen pregnancy (fits the first 2)
– A happy, nuclear home
– A wonderful man I met when we were far too young

I’m finding the most amazing quotes lately. Yes, as I know I’ve said before, I’m sure this is all part of the Master Plan for me out there in the universe. I am being faced with the truth about myself all too often lately. Yes, it’s good since I’m an avoider, but it’s becoming more and more difficult. I’m hoping I reach a plateau in all of this spiritual growth. I don’t want to stop learning, but this self-evaluation and understanding can be really overwhelming. In any event…

I’m shocked that I’m even bringing up the teen pregnancy in a public forum, but… well… it affected me and shaped me more than I can explain to anyone who hasn’t been there (and it fits into two of Diego’s categories – for me). Unfortunately, all too many people have gone through it – I’m not some random “gee, no one else has ever done this before” kind of girl. What is making me nuts with the media nowadays is the glorification of something that just isn’t pleasant. “Teen Mom” is a show that really deserves to be on TV? Does it help people or is it putting money in people’s pockets? I am NOT throwing stones, but I’m “old school” about this kind of stuff and maybe that’s part of my issue. In my mind, teen pregnancy may be something that happens but certainly isn’t celebrated. Before I go off on this tangent, I’ll stop. Accidents happen – that I know all too well.

I was young, heading to college and my boyfriend and I made a mistake. I’ve struggled for so long with being okay with this – well over two decades – and I need to finally find some peace. I can’t undo what was done. If my daughters are ever in the situation, I am not sure what I’d advise. But, I can say that I’d be there to support them regardless. I would never want my kids to have to make the decision I faced – I don’t think there is necessarily a winning answer here. And at that, I need to let it go.

Next — All I ever wanted when I was growing up was a Brady Bunch house (ironic since that was a blended family). I wanted parents who loved one another, vacations, happiness. I struggled in my marriage for a long time because it wasn’t fulfilling. But, I was committed to the idea of being married. I wanted my kids to have what I never did. After being slapped in the head by The Fates several times, I finally realized that my kids would be better off not having the example I was providing. I want them to always know that they are strong, they can strive to reach their dreams and they should not stay in an unfulfilling relationship – life is too short. Again, I pray that my kids choose their partners wisely and never have to face making a decision that will have a lifelong impact. But, for me, my unreachable dream is to have that happy, nuclear family with annual vacations and pleasant family dinners.

Probably not surprising, my unforgettable love is not my ex-husband and maybe that caused issues. I’m a dreamer, an idealist. My head is in the clouds creating stories and situations far more than I’ll ever admit – that doesn’t bode well in a relationship with someone who  is monochromatic. I had envisioned my life turning out so differently than it has, but in reality, marriage to my ex brought me to the place I am now. I’m in the town I always wanted to live in. I have amazing children. A creek in my backyard. Two wonderful dogs. A good job. I am where I am supposed to be.

But, in the whimsical dream world of a teen, meeting someone who is completely different from anyone else you’ve ever met leaves a lasting impression. Looking at it from a realist’s viewpoint, the relationship with the man I fell in love with would never have lasted. I would have been frustrated for many reasons. So, I have to be thankful that I had that amazing experience and keep the memories with me. It’s a beautiful story if I ever have the courage to tell it.

I am sure I could go more in depth with any of these topics, as could anyone else. I call the challenge to everyone to look within themselves and find their four –
– an unspeakable secret
– an irreversible regret
– an unreachable dream
– an unforgettable love

Looking back on life can be truly eye opening and freeing. We all need to do it from time to time.

 

Comfort

His warm body pressed against me is one of the first things that reaches my consciousness when I awake every morning.

He shifts to get more comfortable and nuzzles closer.

I smile every time he does this. Every day.

The soft rise and fall of his body is such great comfort to my soul.

I am lovable. I am loved. I have constant support and protection.

When he entered my life nearly five years ago, I had no idea we’d bond like this.

Always there when I need him. Silently comforting me.

His beautiful brown eyes are always filled with such love when he looks at me.

Our affection for one another and our dependence on one another surpasses any other relationship I’ve ever had. I know I’d be lost without his constant presence.

He was brought into my life when I asked for him. Or rather I asked for something by his name and he appeared. An incredible blessing better than I’d imagined. A reminder that God always provides what we need.

He moves again and lays his head on my arm.

I feel his breath on my cheek and my smile grows.

I slowly open my eyes and see his brown eyes looking lovingly at me.

Before I can stop him he licks my face.

I reach out and rub his hair, burying my hand in the fur around his neck.

He licks my arm showing me how much he adores me and I hear his tail hitting the bed expressing his happiness.

I love this dog.

 

Silk

I couldn’t see through the scarf across my eyes,
but I could hear him moving around the room.
I felt
vulnerable
excited
curious
I sat there
Just waiting.
Patient and eager.
I heard the lighting of a match,
then the calming smell of vanilla.
He had promised an evening of romance
And had certainly followed through.

A fantastic dinner in a private room
Exotic delights that tortured my tastebuds as they ached for more.
Just the two of us
Talking
Smiling
Laughing
Touching each other across the table.

He drove us to the best hotel in the city.
He had packed for both of us without me knowing.

Our room was ready
filled with roses of all colors and sizes
vases placed perfectly so the room was filled with their scent
unscented candles flickering and casting shadows along the walls
champagne and strawberries
Idyllic

The balcony door was open just enough to allow a warm breeze to enter.
We had kissed with every step as we crossed the room.
We stood on the balcony with our arms wrapped around one another
watching the passersby far below
High enough to not hear the traffic noise
High enough to have a beautiful view of the city spreading out in front of us
High enough that it was simply intoxicating to just stand side-by-side and be.
He kissed me again
Then took my hand and walked me to the bed.

“Trust me,” he whispered as he sat me down on the side of the king size bed.
I looked at him, smiled and said, “I do.”
He pulled a silk scarf from his jacket pocket, trailed it along my bare arm and shoulder as he gazed into my soul,
then tied it gently across my eyes.
“Don’t move,” his breath was warm as he whispered in my ear,
then flicked his tongue across my earlobe causing my body to shake in response.

He chuckled softly and I could hear him move across the room.

So here I sit
waiting.
I can feel the smile on my face as I try to determine his movements.
I know he’s walking back toward me
Slowly.

His hand touches my thigh and causes my heart to beat rapidly.
I feel his other hand gently grash my knee and move my leg as I feel his body sinking down to kneel before me.