Finding your strength

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“It doesn’t take a lot of strength to hang on, it takes a lot of strength to let go.” ~ J.C. Watts

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I was born a “fixer” and, until a few years ago, I had spent a great deal of my time taking on other people’s burdens as my own.  But something shifted in the paradigm of my reality when I got divorced in 2012.  I realized I was spending too much of my time trying to change a life that was not mine to change.  I was hanging on to problems that irrevocably had impact on my life but I had no power to solve.  I needed to let go.  But I was so stuck in the pattern of my life that I didn’t know how to let go.  I wanted so desperately for things to work out in my life that I honestly thought that this was the syllabus of my future.

It takes a monumental amount of courage to walk away from a relationship that you have put your heart and soul into but a relationship has to give you what you need for it to be successful.  By its very definition, a relationship is a form of communication.  Wants and needs are expressed and, in a healthy relationship, are reciprocated without condition.  Such was not the case for me and I knew it.  I felt it deep within myself but it took me a long time to admit it because to do that would have made me feel like I had failed.  But I had only failed myself by not seeing the signs sooner and listening to that nagging inner voice.

I finally found the nerve to put my needs first and, in finally letting go, I gave myself permission to define myself according to my needs and not the needs of anyone else.  The strength to hang on was easy, it was my comfort zone, but finding the strength to let go made me feel eviscerated, vulnerable and it was not something I was accustomed to.

I wanted to write this post because I have friends now in the situation in which I found myself years ago.  I want them to know that letting go is not always the easy choice, but it may be the right choice, for them.   It may be hard to listen to that petulant voice in your head, but that voice is the most sincerely honest advice you will ever get.

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Don’t give up easily.  If it is worth the fight, than fight, fight like your life depends on it.  But if you know in your heart that nothing will ever change, let go, let go like your life depends on it.

It’s just my allergies….

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I have suffered with allergies since I was a child.  My sensitivities are mostly environmental so they are certainly manageable.  As a child I used to break out in hives when I ate strawberries but, I was as stubborn then as I am now so, I ate them anyway and eventually outgrew my reaction.

As I have matured into the person I am today, I am finding an increase in my hypersensitivity to certain things.  The environmental allergies still plague me year-round but I have discovered lately that a broad spectrum of human emotion, compassion and empathy is having a strange effect on my eyes.

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When I hear stories that touch my heart, the redness in my eyes is immediately evident.  There is a small bit of swelling in the upper and lower eyelids and I am guessing my body creates tears to cleanse my eyes of the allergens.  This “allergy” is becoming more and more prevalent.  What was once just a susceptibility to dust, mold, grass and trees now encompasses impassioned stories, movies, television shows and even commercials.  Seeing another human being cry is definitely the biggest trigger for this new onslaught of “allergic reactions” and once the tears are formed the next symptom of these “allergies” is a stuffed up nose.

I have battled allergies for years and these are the only ones I can say I actually don’t mind having.  I have given up wishing I could control these allergic reactions in public.  I’m sure seeing a few tears is easier for others to witness rather than a contorted face that looks uncomfortable and painful.

So, if you see me and it looks like I’ve been crying…..it’s just my allergies.

 

Finding light in the darkness

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“What happened in the past that was painful has a great deal to do with what we are today.” ~ William Glasser

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Looking back at my past, I can almost see the lines in the distance of the paths that I have chosen.  They are faint in the waning light but the traces are still visible.  Those lines, those roads I chose to follow, helped to carve the figure of the person I am now.

Along that road not everything was painful but I can say that those arduous moments gave me more definition as a person than the happier, less stressful times.  Those darker moments made me a stronger version of myself.  Those difficult stages during my life gave me the tenacity and the persistence to overcome obstacles that I may not have been able to cope with had my life been easier.

It is how we carry ourselves through the difficult moments that gives us our strength.  It is how we persevere through misfortune that builds our character.  I am who I am because of what I have experienced.  I am a better version of the me I could have been because I endured pain and suffering.  I made a point to learn from it and now my inner light far outweighs any of the darkness from my past.

The road already travelled

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“Time moves in one direction, memory in another.” ~ William Gibson

Nostalgia is a funny thing.  When you least expect it, what began as a glimpse into your subconscious suddenly floods your senses and overwhelms you with thoughts of the past.  It could be a song lyric, a smell or an old picture that triggers the trip down memory lane but, regardless of how the journey begins, the open road to your past looms behind and begs for you to follow it.

 

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On occasion that journey can feel like you have stepped through a portal into the time-space continuum and have completely ensconced yourself in that moment so many years ago.  You can visualize the wallpaper on the walls that no longer exist in reality but feel like they are an arm’s length away if you reached out to touch them.  You can inhale fragrant scents and feel the presence of the person who used to wear that particular perfume or cologne.  That one song can play and transport you back to the time and place you have associated so strongly with those lyrics.

That road that stretches behind us still waits for us whenever we feel the beckoning pull of sentimentality.  Venturing down that protected surface serves to remind us where we’ve been but will always afford us the opportunity to turn around and forge ahead into the future.

Understanding and embracing those things from our past can only motivate us to continue.  We carve the paths of our progressive journey knowing that the moments that have shaped us will always be there to remind us of where we have been and where we have since chosen to go.

To Paleo, or not to Paleo….that is the question

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Along with aging comes change…..in everything!  Some of that change is welcomed, like a new sense of self and not being concerned with what others think.  And some is not so well-received, like white hair, bags under the eyes and the digestive system constantly changing the rules for our metabolism on a daily basis.

I never had a care in the world when it came to food.  I suffered no allergies.  I was not a victim to food sensitivities.  I had absolute freedom in my culinary world.

But something has drastically shifted over the last couple of years.  I have heard of this phenomenon but never thought I would have become a statistic in this game of “what do we cut out of the daily diet today”.   Choosing what to eat has become more like Russian Roulette.  One misfire and that bullet of discomfort is going to rocket through my intestines.

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I’ve been looking at the Paleo Diet and it seems to cut out all the components that could potentially cause inflammation or general malaise without necessarily cutting out the options for a very tasty selection of meals.  I have already become the person who puts beets and turmeric in my breakfast smoothies, so I think I’ve pretty much taken the first step in admitting that I’m not the girl who is able to eat what she wants anymore.   And that recipe in the photo looks delicious!   Wish me luck…..I’m goin’ in.

 

 

Yes, I’m going to say it again…..

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I loathe the word nagging.  I much prefer the term ‘getting your point across in a relatively passive-aggressive way’.

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When I feel strongly about something, I can be a bit overwhelming in my pursuit and subsequent follow-up.  While my intentions are completely honorable, my execution can be somewhat irritating.  But at the heart of my bothersome behavior is my desire to see the benefit of my persistence far outweigh the burden of my pestering.

I really do want the best for people.  And sometimes I feel like the droning sound of my voice, saying the same thing over and over again, will eventually have its desired effect.  But I can hear myself.  I can hear the warming of my vocal chords as they prepare to drown the recipient in their ambient sound waves.  And although the compulsion is unrelenting, if I am lucky, sometimes I can catch myself before the melodic tone of my incessant chatter reaches maximum annoyance.

On the bad days, I do see my nagging as a challenge – a moment to rise above the urge to deliver unwarranted advice.  But on the good days, I see my nagging as a strength – a moment to reflect on the genuine feeling of emotion behind the message I am trying to convey.  Regardless of which day it really is, I am compelled to react because the apprehension I feel for a situation is directed at a person who is very close to my heart.

Although the word nagging is derived from a Scandinavian word meaning “to gnaw”, I like to think of my foray into personal harassment as more of a nibble.  And if you find yourself on the opposite end of one of my lectures, please know it comes from a place of love and from nowhere else.

It`s one day after the 12th

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Friday-the-13th

I have never been a superstitious person.  I’m not afraid to have a black cat cross paths with me.  I do use caution around ladders but that is more of a safety issue rather than a superstition.  And I certainly don’t believe that I will have 7 years of bad luck if I have the misfortune of breaking a mirror into tiny shards of reflective glass.  I will, however, have 7+ horrible minutes of clean up!!

Bad luck seems to be brought on by bad attitudes.  If I had woken up this morning in a state of panic because of the calendar date, I’m sure some incident would have befallen me and I would undoubtedly have had people tell me it is a result of the dreaded Friday the 13th.  I arose this morning as I always do.  I put on my jeans the same one leg at a time.  There were no black crows eyeballing me from the top branch of their perch, screeching raptor-like obscenities and warning me to stay indoors.

Did you know that historically there have been fewer car accidents on this day because people exercise so much more caution or don’t drive at all?  The irrational fear that this day imposes is an interesting phenomenon.  People have such an overwhelming fear of the 13th day of the month falling on a Friday but never really take the time to ask themselves why they have this fear.   If you reflect on your childhood, somewhere along your journey, the superstition was unwittingly passed on to you.  The moment that seed was planted, it matured into an irrational fear and has embedded its roots into your psyche.  I’m a firm believer that we make our own luck.  If you think bad things will happen on Friday the 13th then they probably will.

Friday the 13th has never imposed any ugliness on me but I also impress nothing put positive thoughts on it.  It is just another day.   If Friday the 13th is your ‘monster in the closet’ – lock that closet door and throw away the key.  It holds no more power than what you allow it to have.

Are you superstitious or was today just another day…