Monthly Archives: January 2013

Sharing Is Caring

With Valentine’s Day approaching, there is a lot of buzz surrounding love and expressing that love with those we care about.  Some of you may know that I’m doing more writing lately, and I’m getting back into the “songwriting gym”, so to speak, to exercise my creativity and be more accountable to who I truly am and what I truly love.  “Love” (and all of its myriad stages and phases) is a concept that has been and will always be a staple topic.  As I was writing, I was looking for a word to more accurately convey the concept of “carefully” falling in love (oxymoronic, I know) and the word “share” came to mind to replace “give” as it relates to the intimate matters of the heart and all other things precious.

Think about what it means to give.  First of all, in most cases, there are a number of preliminary stages that have already been successfully completed before a gift of any sort would even seem appropriate.  This means we trust at minimum that 1) the person receiving the gift will be a worthy steward of the gift they’re receiving, and 2) the gift is appropriate for the nature of the relationship.  Second, we don’t usually give trite or meaningless gifts…the gift always has some kind of value.  Whether it’s monetary, sentimental, or whatever…it means something, no matter how simple, because some level of thought and energy went into choosing the “right” gift for the recipient.  Third, when we “give” a gift, we release all claims to it once it’s transferred to the recipient.  We have absolutely no say in what the recipient does (or does not do) with what we give them.  We don’t even have a say over “how” they receive the gift.  S/he can graciously receive it, half-heartedly receive it, take it and put it on a shelf, lock it in a vault, frame/encase it for display, re-purpose it, eventually forget they have it, or even return it if it turns out not to be to their liking.  The same is true when we “give” our heart to someone.  [For the purposes of keeping this relatively brief and keeping it from turning into a “counter-Valentine’s-y” note (because a WHOLE THESIS can be written on this), I won’t delve further into that just now. Just…”SELAH” (a Hebrew term I like, which roughly means “pause and think on that”).]  But I believe we have all made this choice at one time or another.

Alternatively, we are taught from our earliest school years what it means to “share”.  And in an effort to validate my “aha!” moment, I found this definition of the word: “To allow someone to…enjoy something that one possesses”.  By this definition when we “share” something, we still retain what we’re presenting to another yet there is mutual enjoyment.  Therefore, when we share our heart with those we love, we don’t completely “lose” ourselves to the whims and vicissitude (found that word, too! LOL) of what we choose to allow our process of growing in love to become, but rather we continue to possess the fullness of ourselves while allowing another person to partake in and enjoy the same fullness.  Notice I said “retain” and not “restrain”.  It doesn’t necessarily mean we’re withholding a portion of ourselves (again, refer back to being appropriate for the nature of the relationship), it simply means we remain responsible for and accountable to our essential selves without offering ourselves as a “free and clear” token of sacrifice on the altar of ambiguity and the unpredictability of being a human being in love.  [And yes, we know that “perfect love casts out fear”, but since we’re not perfect neither is our love…so we must be realistic and recognize that trusting others enough to welcome them into the “all” of who we are (glorious and not-so-glorious) can be a scary thing…no matter how much each person thinks they know the other.]

On the surface it might appear to be a contradiction, because we are so accustomed to the idea that when we truly love someone (another “fluid’ concept), we must be willing to completely give ourselves without reservation in order for the relationship to work.  But if we consider the fact that there are more failed marriages and partnerships based on this premise, it stands to reason that some reassessment is merited.  As a society, we tend to romanticize what it means to be in love, putting almost the complete onus of our happiness in a relationship on the other person…this is EXTREMELY unfair and very frustrating – for both parties!  Because before we met Prince Charming or Princess Grace, we had a certain level of contentment (or discontent, as the case may be) yet we somehow continue to fall prey to the belief that once we meet “the one” all of our previous frustrations, disappointments, character flaws, or personal burdens will magically fade away…because “s/he will rescue me”.  [We’ll all deny it, because it sounds and IS ludicrous…but subconsciously, we subscribe to it in some degree.]  Yes, these discomforts feel lessened because we now have someone to distract us from focusing on some or all of these nuisances and/or to share these burdens of our lives with, but they don’t disappear altogether, and it’s impractical to expect it.

In all drinking ads, because of the various lawsuits there have been surrounding glamorizing drinking without encouraging responsible behavior, we hear or see the words “drink responsibly”.  I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage each of us to “love responsibly”.  Expecting our spouse or significant other to “fix” what a lifetime of living (including previous “mis-loves”) has done is irresponsible.  When we give our heart to someone, and (just like the child who brings a broken toy to someone they believe can make it work properly again) stand there and wait for them to return it in better condition than how we gave it to them, we set the relationship up for ultimate failure.  It is not their job to right all the wrongs previously done to us, or to overcompensate for other ill-fated experiences.  The most responsible thing for us to do is be honest about who we really are (faults and all) and what [we “think”] we know we bring to the table (our soulmate always manages to see more in us than we see in ourselves) and share that vastness with him/her…and prove ourselves worthy of having him/her do the same.  Care enough to NOT give yourself over to him/her…but rather consciously and deliberately share yourself, remaining responsible for your own heart and happiness.

I know…  We can all “argue” for or against either theory (because I certainly do still – after all, the various facets of Love and matters of the heart and soul are as infinite as the Source of creation).  So whether you plan to share your heart with someone this “love season” or not, it’s just something I was thinking about…and I thought I’d “share” it with you.

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About Greatness

The gift of greatness lives in ALL of us. Why we waste so much time on the meaningless, menial and mediocre, rather than investing and sowing into those things which encourage, promote, and give expression to that greatness is beyond me. And because my gift is uniquely mine, the beautiful thing is that I don’t have to trample or demean anyone else for it to have full expression, without imposing on anyone else. In fact, if my expression is an imposition on another, it’s not really greatness at all; but rather an illustration of my own inadequacy…

An inspired paragraph I wrote several months ago, after having a bout of insecure banter.


Occupy Your Space

In general, all people have insecurities.  We all have things that we wish we could do better, do more of, be recognized for, etc.  And there’s always going to be someone who looks more attractive, does a better job, wins more people, has more of a competitive edge, or is more magnetic than we think we are.  That’s just life. But what I’ve found is that when we fully occupy our OWN space, meaning that we do our best in all that WE are able to do, there is no room for insecurity.  Because in this space, I’ve done all that I can do.  I’ve blessed who I’m supposed to bless… I’ve smiled at who I’m supposed to smile at…  I’ve devoted my time and attention to the things I’ve committed to…  I’ve tended to my body in a manner that leaves nothing lacking…  I’ve made sure that those I love and care about know the depth of my love and appreciation for them…  I’ve committed myself to becoming the best “ME” that I can be, so that no one else can step in and assume (or CONsume) the space that is supposed to be designated for me.  And having done all of these things, I now…stand.

Sure it sounds like a LOT OF SHIT TO DO!!!!  I mean, who really does all of that???  Who leaves NOTHING “undone”??  Well, let me ask you this:  In a day, how many tasks do you reckon you’re able to accomplish on a regular basis?  20?  30?  100?  All things considered, most people complete at LEAST 1000 tasks in a day…  When I say “all things considered”, I mean it… 1) Get out of bed, 2) stretch, 3) walk across the room, 4) go to the bathroom, 5) wash your hands (and if you don’t, let me just tell you….THAT’S JUST NASTY AS HELL; keep your bodily fluids to yourself, please), 6) brush your teeth, 7) open the blinds….need I go on?  So in the “laundry list” of things I mentioned before, there weren’t that many things listed…Is it reasonable to say that you could do that and MUCH MORE, if you put your attention to it?  Absolutely.

What brought about this blog?  I’d been feeling somewhat “inadequate” in my own mind.  Regardless of the things I do and all those I come in contact with on a regular basis, because some basic goals and aspirations hadn’t been met, I began to question what I was “missing”.  What didn’t I have that the next person had?  What made this other person so much more successful in this particular area?  How was I continuously overlooked or seemingly un(der)developed in these things?  The answer:  I wasn’t fully occupying my space.

We were all born with various gifts, talents, abilities, passions, capacities, etc.  But most of us don’t always bring all that we are to the table.  Why?  Well, I won’t dare speak for you, but for me I didn’t feel worthy to own up to my TRUE self…the self that had such a presence that was the same kind of “beautiful” that I could so appreciate when I saw that same energy on someone else.  [I could definitely relate to the prose by Marriane Williamson that reveals that our deepest fear is not anything outside of us, but rather our own best self!] And in fact, I was so busy admiring (and in some cases being jealous or envious of) someone else’s “flair” that I didn’t appreciate or invest time and energy into developing the things that I do extraordinarily.  I was so busy wishing I could have the finances of the next person, that I missed pouring myself fully into the opportunities that had been given to me, to better my own financial future.  Too much energy and self-loathing wishing my body looked like someone else’s that I didn’t express love and kindness to myself and make sure that I was putting my own “best” forward.  I could paint the details of this picture forever, but I think you get the point.

The point is to encourage you to pay attention to the space you were meant to occupy, and DO IT!!  No one else can effectively and adequately stand on your stage.  Not one other person can give the love that YOU were meant to give.  No one else can write the poems, books, songs and/or screenplays that were birthed out of your unique experiences.  Of all the beautiful people in the world, no one will be beheld with the same awe and admiration as when you grace the world with the essential and authentic energy that you are and will attract just because you fell in love…with YOU.

No “embellishment” necessary…you already have and are everything you need to be.  No petty jealousy necessary…it’s impossible for him/her to “beat you” offering your unique seasoning to the flavor of Love.  And so on…

If we would but only learn the power that we represent and can demonstrate, in full essence… If we would but dare to be introduced to the greatness that permeates our very being… If ONLY we would stop being intimidated by our real selves, and stop running from the responsibility of our richness… Phew!

Take your stage.  Own your truth.  Occupy your space.


Happy New YOU: A New Year’s tribute

As always, I’m thanking God for each of you and all that you represent to me. And understand that my words are carefully chosen and charged with utmost sincerity to express my appreciation for you. I don’t take our association lightly, and know that so much more is “in the works” as we move forward.

I really just want to encourage you as you work toward whatever you’ve given yourself permission to obtain and attain, this year. I’m not big on “resolutions”, because the color of that word is tainted so badly that to set them usually results in failure by “default”, because that’s what we expect…our world has dictated that by mid-February or March, most people cry “do over!” anyway. So what I’m talking about is your vision for yourself, and crystallizing it (or at least becoming aware of what you ALREADY envision for yourself…because it may not be what you want, and you didn’t realize that’s why you keep repeating like-caliber experiences).

Scripture reminds us that “as a [wo]man thinketh, so is s/he”. So what are you thinking about? What images do you constantly keep before you, in your mind? What kind of people are you surrounding yourself with? Are you surrounded by people you believe in and who believe in you? Is your environment conducive to building and working toward your dream(s)? Or are you (and/or others) always “bringing it back to reality”? [By the way, if your present reality is not what you WANT to experience, but your dreams are, why in the world would you FOCUS on your present reality??? What you devote time, energy, and attention to will find its way to you; so if you want more of what you’re already experiencing, then by all means nurse that vision. But if your desired reality reaches far beyond what your “today” looks like, it makes sense that you feed your vision more images of itself. This doesn’t mean you become negligent in regards to your responsibilities in order to “daydream”, but it means your PASSION, ENERGY, and FOCUSED ATTENTION becomes re-directed so that your “so is s/he” begins to reflect you more accurately.]

So forget what time of the year it is…this is beyond resolutions. This is about living in the success, abundance and prosperity that you will ALLOW yourself to experience. This means you have to give YOURSELF permission to experience the life you want to live, which may consequently mean releasing prejudice about others who already live the life you want to live. Because if you judge them, coming up with your own reasoning as to why and how they got it, you’re subconsciously blocking it from coming into YOUR life because you’ve inadvertently told yourself that achieving that life will make you lazy, excessive, “too good”, inaccessible, detached, carnal, or otherwise “bad” – not exactly things that invite or invoke your best.

So get passionate about life and living, and create what you want to experience. IT’S WITHIN YOUR REACH! And it doesn’t require an overhaul…in other words, you don’t have to become something you’re not already, in order to be, do, and have what you want. Quite the contrary, you will have to RELEASE those things you’re not and allow the God-intended you to come forth!! If it were not a possibility, you wouldn’t be able to conceive it in your mind. So truly (not to sound cliche’), if you can conceive (or “see”) it, you really CAN do, be, and have it!

Go for the very BEST!!


HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

May this be the most joy-, laughter-, and peace-filled holiday season you have ever known (whatever you may or may not celebrate).  Wisdom tells us to “think on things that are true, honest, lovely, and of good report…” and to “give thanks IN all things…” because all things are good, regardless of our perception of them.

We have all known the bliss of experiencing the things we want in life, because we’ve also experienced the offset of the sting of those things we would have certainly chosen to avoid or completely cut out of our lives…but what Wisdom would that be?

Of all the people you will encounter over the next couple of weeks, love every moment of that exchange…make of it what you want it to be.  If you wish for it to be harmonious, soul-warming, and beneficial, allow it to be.  If you wish (and plan) for it to be stressful, intense, annoying, or energy-consuming, allow it be and it will be.

Today, I know it’s not the “designated” time of giving thanks, but EVERY DAY is a good day for that.  And I’m actually giving thanks for the gift of each one of you…regardless of the depth of our knowledge of one another.  I acknowledge that we have been brought into each other’s lives for a purpose beyond what we may currently realize.  Therefore, I’m grateful for the gift of YOU – beyond your “personality”, your celebrity, or your physical casing, but for your true essence…the part of us that is connected from before we were ever introduced.  And I’m thankful for the perpetual “unwrapping” of the gift, as we continue forward.

May this season be one of reflection, of ultimate revelation, and may the peace that passes all understanding be yours simply because you are.  You deserve all the best that you can imagine for yourself…anyone who tells you anything other than this is an imposter – even if it’s you.  “Keep it real” is the saying of the era; this means knowing the truth, and being free because it resonates within the truth that you are.


When Did We Grow Up?

I don’t even really know why I’m writing this right now.  But I just felt like I needed to.  There are a number of different ways I could go with this, given the title, but I’ll just write on the one that’s most immediate in my mind.

When we were children, we didn’t understand seasons (“I want what I want how I want it and NOW!, or YOU can’t be my friend anymore!”…at least not for another 15 minutes, until I forget you aren’t my friend anymore” or “What do you mean I can’t go play in the snow in these sandals…I’ll put my COAT on!”) and humility (“If you’ll sit and laugh at me, I’ll put on a show you’ll want to write home about until mom or dad tells me to stop “showin’ out” and sit down somewhere”); or even jealousy (it’s called SHARING…we all learn that in kindergarten;  “If you have it and I want it, if I wait long enough, I’ll either get to play with it when you’re done or I’ll eventually get my own”) and scarcity (“…what the heck is THAT??!?”).

At some point in our development, these and other things – either positive or negative in perspective – began to “mold” our minds.  [You do realize that people DIE from “mold”, right?  I know it’s a different situation, but feel me…]  At some point we learned how to respect and respond to the various “seasons” in our lives, but also used “timing” as a crutch by procrastinating (“Now’s not the time…I’ll do it later”).  We also grasped the concept of humility by learning not to “hog” all the attention and not be pompous or arrogant (most of us anyway), but also used THAT as a crutch in shrinking back and playing small (“What will people think if I really step out there and do what I’m passionate about?  Will it be accepted?  Will it be in line with what so many already know about me?  What if the new, “real” me doesn’t fit their “mold” of who or what I’ve been to them up to this point?…there’s that word again).

I believe it’s important for us to recognize and acknowledge that there IS such a thing as “balance”…and it’s not as far off or elusive as many of us think it is.  It doesn’t require precision or much time contemplating about how much is “enough” or “too much”.  When we have to think about these things, it’s already out of balance.

Children don’t think “Geez…I’ve been on this playground for about 40 minutes now, I should call it quits.”  When they’re tired, they simply stop.  Likewise, parents of infants can vouch that their baby is probably not thinking “Hmmm…3 4-ounce bottles already, better slow up before we run out of formula.”  Not likely.  When s/he’s hungry, s/he’s hungry…where the heck is the damn bottle?  Conversely, when s/he is done eating, you’re not getting that nipple into his/her mouth.  These aren’t careful, strategic decisions…we are born with internal, automatic sensors that keep us in balance.  When did we learn how to stifle ourselves?

When you’re spending too much time at the office or wherever, you know DAMNED WELL you need to take yo’ ass home!  But you stay because of pressure from SOMEwhere (1) work – “this project needs to be done by this certain date/time”, 2) home – “that (wo)man is driving me crazy at home…let me stay here just a couple more hours”, etc.), 3) finances – “I can use the extra hours on this next paycheck…”.  When you’re eating or drinking too much, your body signaled to you LONG ago that it was time to quit (“I really don’t need the rest of this linguini, but I paid $XX for this meal, and it won’t taste the same tomorrow!” or “Nobody makes this drink the same, and I don’t know when I’ll get to come back here”).  When you’re not sharing enough time with the people you care about, you feel it…you KNOW (by intuition) that that person or those persons need to hear from you, because you’re THINKING about calling them or going to spend time with them, but for whatever reason you rationalize yourself out of the magic of those precious moments.  How many of us are STILL living with the regrets of not having shared more time with people who are no longer in our lives…either because they transitioned back into eternity OR because our pride and the need to have “our way” transitioned them out of our lives because we didn’t have time for them, so they moved on…without us?

At some point, by some magical age “default”, we get to label ourselves “grown” or “adult”…usually 18, 21, or 25, depending on what it is we’re supposed to be “grown” enough to do.  I propose that this process of “becoming” is never done.  Sure, we’re old enough to vote, rent cars, or purchase property, but are we BALANCED in our ways?

When do we outgrow tantrums and the need to “get our way”?  When are we constantly aware of the transition and adjustment of the seasons of our lives?  When are we officially interdependents, rather than dependents or independents?  When have we “gotten it”?

I could conclude any number of ways on this, but none of them would be right…and none of them would be wrong either.  These are merely questions/observations.  The religious person will want to leave a battery of scriptures to force a definite conclusion.  The spiritual person will merely reflect, go within, and respond/act accordingly, allowing each reader to come to his/her own way…as s/he will understand that our Divine Wisdom is FULLY capable of leading us to where we’re supposed to be.

Again, these are mere thoughts.  I warned you at the beginning that I didn’t know why I was writing…SELAH.


Seasons

I love it when seasons change. When we’re in any season, it can feel like it’s never going to end…even though we know better. In the summer, we almost can’t even imagine it ever becoming cold enough to wear a hat, scarf, and gloves ever again. As a matter of fact, just the thought of it is enough to make us break into a sweat. When the bitter cold of winter threatens to freeze us senseless, there’s no way we can be convinced that we’ll ever be able to leisurely lounge around out in the yard barefoot, wearing just a tank top and shorts…are you KIDDING me?! Where is the nearest cup of hot chocolate?? But alas, the seasons do change…consistently, and without fail. Granted some seasons are harsher…some are milder. Some changes are subtle, while others are drastic. But you can bet the family farm that change is coming.

 

If you’re a person who hates change, you probably find seasonal transitions annoying and inconvenient. But something to consider is that even within each season – whether it’s your favorite or not – there will be SOMEthing you either loathe (or would rather not have to deal with) or something to which you absolutely look forward. And I really do mean EVERY season. If you’re a winter baby and love to cuddle and snuggle, maybe you can’t stand driving in the snow or the elevated energy bills. If you’re a water baby and can’t wait until summer rolls around each year, maybe you’ve just grown accustomed to the humidity or seeing half-naked not-so-“beach” bodies flouncing around. If you happen to enjoy the transitional seasons of spring or autumn, maybe the unpredictability of rain or suddenly-cool weather, or tornadoes, hurricanes, or allergies puts a damper on your celebration of those flowers or beautifully changing tree colors.

 

Something I’ve come to realize is that wherever we are, it’s a season…always. No matter how good or bad, change is always on the horizon. And it always seems to happen right when we get good and settled into the groove of whatever season we’re in. Something or someone comes along and shifts the dynamic, and catalyzes some kind of different focus. Be it a job, a death, a relationship, a birth, or simply an internal awakening. Change happens. It’s the only thing that’s constant, ironically.

 

We can try to fight the changing of the seasons, or hang on as long as we can to the current season…but that only makes the shift more difficult. And only makes us look ridiculous. We’ve all seen that “clueless” fashionista that absolutely LOVES “short shorts”…so she tries rockin’ ’em with tights and knee-high boots, while wearing an extra thick bubble coat with a faux fur hood, extra long scarf, and matching gloves…and when she gets home, her legs are purple and she can’t feel them for two hours after she’s in a heated environment. WRONG SEASON, BOO. Same thing applies for the lover of cowboy boots when it’s “one hundred and HELL” in the dead of summer.

 

So what do we do? Be prepared for the season to change. This doesn’t mean missing the magic of the moment or becoming the proverbial witch hunter, looking for what’s looming around the corner, but it does mean FULLY getting the most out of the current season while having a realistic understanding that what exists AS it exists today can and very likely WILL be very different in the next season. And we have to be prepared to embrace and welcome the new season, along with all of its gifts and lessons (which can take on any number of forms, and/or come from any number of sources).

 

One reason I enjoy the changing of seasons is it makes me accountable. Because even if a similar season is to come next year (or whenever it comes, thinking in terms of the “life” seasons and/or cycles we experience), THIS season will NEVER return. How I spend my time and energy, or where I choose to direct my attention will never be able to be re-directed.  THIS season’s seed will have been planted wherever I chose to sow it, and cannot be uprooted and re-planted. Therefore, I’m learning to give credence to what really matters while I can actively influence the outcome. Because once the season changes, that chapter is closed and there will be no edits, and no do-overs. It’s done.

 

Now do I always make the “right” choice? I don’t think so. But even recognizing a poor choice is a tool to be added, and a garment made available for wear in the upcoming season…so long as the same poor choice isn’t made next go-’round. Have I caught myself in the mirror wearing out-of-season garb? Or worse…have OTHERS had to tap me on the shoulder and tell me to get my ass back in the house and put on a coat or take off that hot ass sweater? Unfortunately, yes. Do I stand there and mourn the fact that I messed up, or quarantine myself because I was embarrassed by the fact that someone else had to call my attention to it? I could. I have. But when I wake up from that lunacy and realize it’s much easier to just surrender to what the season truly calls for, recognizing that the seasons change for a reason and there’s a process I’m hindering by bucking against it…serenity comes. Freedom comes. Clarity comes. The bliss of the new season comes.

 

Why does the season always seems to change right when we start to settle into the current season’s groove and routine? Maybe it’s to keep us “alive” and not to get so deep into that groove that it becomes a rut. I don’t know. All I know is I love it when the seasons change…