No Two Alike

The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.

Kahlil Gibran

It is almost the end of 2011. The anniversary of this blog project is near and I have been reflecting on my journey this last year for the last couple of days. This time last year, I was alone and reeling with the realization that I had been asleep for too long. I had closed the door of my heart and was filled with regret of wasted days. I made a committment to spend the next year breaking down my walls, being present and finding a way to love and accept my authentic self. I made a commitment to document the process here.

The future is no place to place your better days.  ~Dave Matthews

I did not accomplish complete enlightenment, acceptance or watch all my dreams come true. I did, however, gain awareness, compassion for myself and get the chance to see some dreams come true. I removed most of the bricks from around my heart and gave it the opportunity to breathe again. I looked long and hard at the obstacles I had placed in my own path and did my best to not turn away. I allowed myself to be broken and found a way to shine a light on those shattered bits. In the light I discovered that the pieces still fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. With the love and support of the people around me, I was able to put most of myself back together again.

Pile up too many tomorrows and you’ll find that you’ve collected nothing but a bunch of empty yesterdays.  ~The Music Man

I learned that I am harder on myself than anyone else is. I took on other people’s version of the truth about myself, instead of ascribing to my own. I let old heartbreak and rejection dictate my present happiness. I realized I didn’t have to give it any power to hurt me anymore. I haven’t completely recovered from that old hurt, but I’m re-learning how to be brave and ask for what I need.

You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.  ~Jan Glidewell

I’ve decided to keep writing this blog and continue my committment to this process. I couldn’t have dreamed all the ways that I would change in these last twelve months. My life is so different. I am different. I am better. I am not the same. I have come to something deep inside that had been forgotten. I am excited to continue to grow and see what 2012 has in store for me. There were some dark days in 2011, I don’t want to paint this pristine picture, but peaks and valleys are the reality of life. As a friend of mine reminded me before Christmas, You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you find you get what you need.

I found that I do get what I need. I get above what I need. 2011 was a year of tested faith, surrender, vulnerability, learning and grace. I sit here, writing this, blessed in ways I didn’t know were possible when I started this blog a year ago. I have moments of distrust, in fact I had a bout of it yesterday morning but it didn’t derail me like it used to. I am chipping away at changing out-dated patterns and habits that don’t serve the real me.  I still have work to do, yet my burden isn’t so heavy.

Your life is an occasion. Rise to it. – Mr. Edward Magorium

I am proud of this last year. I am pleased that I put myself in situations that made me uncomfortable and pushed me to my limits. I am satisfied that I made decisions that supported my good, instead of continuing to treat myself with unkindness and expect different results. I learned that I can’t run on empty emotionally, spiritually or physically anymore. I learned that changing the way I eat makes me feel whole again. Trusting my instincts and listening to my own voice fills me with peace. Not apologizing for who I am and embracing my light and dark sides is what I have needed for a long time. I am more prepared to love another since I have started to love and care for myself.

Pick the day. Enjoy it – to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come… The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present – and I don’t want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future. – Audrey Hepburn

Snowflakes are a major symbol in my book The Christmas Child. Snowflakes are unique, like a human fingerprint. I have learned this last year that I am unique and that is fine. I don’t need to live my life under any one else’s direction or idea of what is right. I am here for a specific purpose and my life will unfold the way it is meant to. I don’t need to worry about not being married or being a mother or a famous writer…those things might be headed my way some day, but as I’ve learned though this project imposing my expectations doesn’t change the outcome of my experiences, it only leads to disappointment. When I allow my life bloom in its natural way and be present in the process, I discover that I am pleasantly surprised with what happens.

In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time. – Leonardo da Vinci

I want to thank the friends who have supported me through this year. You have helped me move literally and figuratively into a new way of life. You have listened and inspired me. I am a lucky girl! I want to thank those of you who have read these posts and taken this journey with me. It hasn’t been easy to be open and I have a hard time being vulnerable. I’ve done my best to show you my mess and I appreciate the love.  I want to end this crazy long post with the lyrics to a song I wrote this year. I found the lyrics a couple of days ago and it showcases where I have come from and where I am heading.

I took the padlock off my heart

Looking for a brand new start

Forgiveness

Not sure where to begin

Gather up what I’ve been given

Try to heal

Crawled inside and looked around

Amazed at what I found

Dejected

Swept the cobwebs aside

No longer desire to hide

My pain

I will love again

This has turned into something more

You’ve opened up the door

Embraced me

Smiles lead the way

To trust and what may

Allowing

I will love again

Can’t know what will happen

How the story will end

But this tree won’t break in the wind

Anymore

Not sure what it means

If it means anything

At all

But I’m walking down the road

Toward the horizon with hope

Eyes open

I will love again

Took the padlock off my heart

Looking for a brand new start

Today

Happy New Year everyone. Here’s to a beautiful year ahead.

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Cherry On Top

Today has been a wacky day.

I haven’t slept the last two nights. At 6 am this morning, I finally went downstairs and turned on a movie. This afternoon, I thought I might be able to snooze, but no dice. I am in a fog. I hope things change tonight.

I had a wonderful conversation with my friend Warren this afternoon. It was awful and upsetting subject matter, but I am grateful to have a friend who can have these tough conversations. It is real life. It isn’t a sitcom where every issue is neatly tied up at the thirty minute mark as the theme song swells in the background. It helps to be vulnerable and know that the person on the other end loves you enough to listen and offer you support.

One of the biggest gifts of this journey, has been the opportunity to be open and vulnerable. It has been extremely difficult for be to be vulnerable in the past, even with my closest friends. Even though I haven’t made huge gains in all areas of my life, this is one element that I have had success in. I have learned that the world won’t self-destruct if I am vulnerable. I can be broken and survive. I can let people see that.

Sometimes, embracing that honest frustration and sense of brokenness that we feel helps usher in a new feeling. Warren asked me gentle questions and I had to admit that I’m doing all that I can. All of these areas of my life can not be controlled, not by me at least. I expressed that the only thing I can control is my attitude. I can think positive as opposed to negative. I can believe in my own worth and find a way to believe that other people will see that too. I have been worrying and stressing with all my might, but what I really need to do is focus on what I want to happen, not what I don’t. Like the Indigo Girls sing, ” The hardest to learn was the least complicated.”

Even on a day like this, when I think I can possibly have a happy ending, a little ray of light shines through and a prayer seems to be answered. As I was working on dinner I noticed a special ed job at an elementary school where another good friend of mine works. Obviously, nothing to report yet, but it can’t hurt to have someone who loves and supports me in the trenches to vouch for me to the principal. I got what I asked for, with such desperation as I tossed and turned last night – hope.

Now I plan to get a good night’s sleep and have a better attitude tomorrow. There just might be something sweet in it for me after all.

Learning To Let Go

I’m happy to report that I was able to finish my SAPS portfolio and I am a real teacher. I still have to file for my license with the Colorado Department of Education, but it feels great and surreal to type this sentence. It has been so much work, but I know it is going to be worth it.

I seriously neglected this blog this last month. Between taking over the class at school and finishing my portfolio – there just was no time to write. In all honesty, there was not much time for sleep or fun or anything else this last month.  Now, I’m heading into my last week of school with students and looking forward to the summer. I will be working as a nanny (hopefully), taking a class, writing, singing, resting, applying for teaching jobs and continuing this journey. I want to pick up where I left off. I have been very reflective all this time, I just haven’t documented it here.

The month of May has been full of success and failure. A real roller coaster of emotion and exhaustion. I wish I would have taken a picture of my dark circles. I looked like a raccoon. Last week, I was told by my Principal that it is a very tough climate to find a job as a teacher. That said, principals will be interviewing in June. However, most people won’t be getting jobs until August. She said not to get frustrated. I trust her and I know that she will do whatever she can to help us get jobs. I also have a centralized phone interview with an HR representative from Denver Public Schools this Tuesday.

I have been very freaked out the last couple of months about finding a job. The anxiety was making me sick. I was having nightmares about it. After I turned in my portfolio, I suddenly had a sense of peace about it. I don’t know if it’s just intuition or what, but I feel that the work I have done in the last two years will help me land up in the right place and the right job. For what ever reason, I feel like I will have a teaching job in August.

I have also been experiencing a great deal of anxiety about one of my relationships. I have gone back and forth, over and over again about what to do. Although I have gotten some well-meaning advice from friends, I wasn’t sure what the right action was. This week, the universe took care of it on its own and I have to say, I am feeling at peace about that situation as well. I have been trying desperately to understand why this person is in my life. This morning, it hit me. I finally understand. It felt like an answered prayer. This feeling of peace may be fleeting, but I really think I have come to a new perspective that will last.

This project is all about learning how to be myself, right now, in this moment and not to run away from anything that makes me uncomfortable. I have wanted to escape recently, but instead, I’ve sat in the discomfort and dealt with it. I have cried and talked for hours with friends and family about it. I have prayed and meditated and wondered how I could ever get to a place of peace. I have learned more about myself. I don’t feel that May was a bust because I have had some major breakthroughs.

I’m looking forward to this summer. I’m excited to keep pushing myself on this journey and learn to be Mary – 100% Mary all the time. I can spend my life trying to be what other people want me to be or I can experience some discomfort and spend my life striving to be myself. I’m learning to embrace the latter. Learning to let go is one of my life’s biggest lessons. I don’t think I have slayed that dragon for good, but I definitely won the small battle this month.

Put Humpty Back Together Again

I have come down from my emotional tailspin from over the weekend. Thank you to all the friends that let me talk it out and were kind enough to check on me and shower me with some loving. I appreciate it more than you know.

It wasn’t actually a random bout of sadness…after reflection and talks with insightful friends, I understood why I was so upset last Saturday. The truth is that growth is uncomfortable and I had some emotions that needed to be processed and process they did. I haven’t cried that hard in awhile.

I’m proud that I didn’t suppress it. I didn’t isolate. I felt and acknowledged every tear – that is growth for me. Big growth. Even though the Saturday night boo-hoo’s kind of sucked, it’s worth it to be on the other side and know that I handled it differently than I would have in the past.

I found these Hello Panda cookies a couple of years ago at World Market and went crazy with excitement because they’re just like a cookie I used to love when I was a child. My grandmother went to Australia and brought back these awesome little cookies called Koala Yummies. My brother and I were obsessed. As I grew up, Koala Yummies seemed to disappear. I discovered that these Hello Panda cookies are just like Koala Yummies – they just have different animals printed on them. Finding Hello Panda cookies as an adult was a nice surprise. They hold no nutritional value, but they hold sentimental value and I do enjoy a box from time to time. But I digress…

I didn’t enjoy a box of Hello Panda cookies over the weekend, however, I saw this picture tonight and thought it was appropriate. It reminded me of Humpty Dumpty. I fell off the wall on Saturday. Luckily I had people who could put me back together again. I stayed present during an unpleasant emotional speed bump and that means I’m not as broken as I used to be. That feels good.

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