Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Living Your Color

This past weekend at Choices was about Colors. Like Myers Briggs, Eneagrams and other personality typing programs, Colors provides a snapshot of an individuals core personality traits and the role they play in how we act/react in life. Understanding color types and how they relate provides valuable insight that can help improve relationships dramatically.

While not a definitive guide to 'why' we are the way we are (family of origin, environment, etc. play a significant role), understanding our colors, does help us understand our core motivators.

In Color typing, there are four colors: Blue (heart-driven people. Everything comes from the heart, goes to the heart. These are the care-givers, harmony-makers of the world). Green (Thinkers. Idea-generators. Wisdom-seekers. These are the inventors, the problem-solvers). Orange (people people. Impulse driven. Excitement seekers/makers. These are the innovators, risk-takers). Gold (Organizers. Logical. Pattern-seekers. Golds are the doers. Count on them to bring the band-aids and the Kool-aid to a picnic).

My primary color is Green. Orange and Blue are tied for second place and gold comes last. For me, that means give me a problem and I look for information to understand it. I scurry into my head to make sense of it, to figure it out, before I'll risk looking stupid by giving a wrong answer. If I do think I'm wrong, I'll spend an inordinate amount of time trying to prove I'm right -- I mean, really. I checked my facts. I know what I'm talking about. How can I be wrong? Dig deep into my psyche and you'll find my core tape of: You think you're so smart. You're stupid.

Knowing my colors has given me an awesome gift in relationship with my daughters. My eldest daughter is primary Blue. The youngest Orange. No wonder the same answer/response doesn't work for both! They process information completely differently.

When she was a child, Alexis always needed at least half an hour to prepare herself for a change in venue. Whatever she was doing, she attached her heart to the process, to the events, to the people involved. To ensure transitions went smoothly, I needed to prepare her, to give her time to complete what she was doing, close-off loose ends of conversation etc. At 21, she continues to lead with her heart and she still needs time to transition from one state to the next.

Liseanne on the other hand, with her primary Orange on full-speed at all times, was quite happy to leave whatever she was doing to do something else. She was bored with it anyway. Change is great! Today, Liseanne is a lightbulb of energy on the go. She's up to taking on any new challenge. Hey! Life's awaiting. Let's get it on.

Every time I take the Colors workshop, I deepen my knowledge of who I am, how I relate to people (or not) and why I do some of the things I do. As a green woman, the complexity of my behavioural responses is impacted by society's belief, women are care-givers, nurturers -- that is not my first state of being. Becoming a mother definitely enhanced my blue -- but it's not my natural response.

Greens are fond of quoting Sir Francis Bacon's statement written in 1597 in "Religious Meditations Of Heresies", Knowledge is power. When one of the participants said that this weekend, I wondered, Is that true? Is knowledge really power? Or, is the power in what we do with our knowledge? Knowledge is ultimately, information transitioning to wisdom. It is an inert force until we put it into action.

As a green, I value information. I learn about people and places, things and objects by observing, gathering info and processing it. I don't tend towards rapid judgements of people and situations. I lean towards understanding first. Decision-making second. Now, this can be my strength. It can also be my weakness.

When I was with Conrad, I had tons of information about his behaviour. Oodles and oodles of experience with his lies. I did nothing.

After he was arrested and I began to research personality disorders, I became knowledgeable about who he was, what he did, how he did what he did, and the impact of his disorder on me. I still didn't have change, however. Change came when I took my focus off knowledge seeking and became actively involved in deepening my knowledge base not through more information, but through application of my wisdom in my daily life.

The first time I participated in the Colors workshop, I left the room, buzzing. I had discovered a piece of information that made sense to the one question I couldn't answer about my relationship with Conrad. Why did I stay? I knew he was lying. I knew he was manipulating me. I knew my life was a lie. Why did I stay? The darkside of green is inaction. I didn't leave Conrad because I wanted to know the truth, and thus convinced myself the only way to get it was to keep looking for answers, to keep trying to make sense of his nonsense. As I dug deeper and deeper I slid further and further into inertia, into the quagmire of inaction masquerading as a quest for truth. To leave meant I had made a mistake. And mistakes are stupid. I hate looking stupid.

I left the Colors workshop that Sunday and wanted to process what I had learned. I got in my car, turned my cell phone on and it immediately rang. It was Alexis. In tears. Someone very close to her had been killed in a car accident that afternoon. She needed me.

I thought about what I needed to do: process the information I had acquired that day. I thought about my daughter and her need for her mother.

Knowing my colors gave me the courage to do the right thing. I had fifteen minutes to drive home. Fifteen minutes to process what I could of the weekend before I needed to walk through my front door and be completely present for my daughter so that I could be the mother she needed. The mother she counted on to help her in her grief.

I chose wisely. I had the knowledge that gave me the power to turn up, for me and for those I love, so that I could create more of what I want in my life. A world of harmony. A world in which I respect myself and treat everyone around me with respect.

I cannot heal or change what I do not acknowledge.

In the past, I have been physically present with my daughters while in my head I've been busy working out problems, ideas, notions....

On that day, I used my fifteen minute drive to color code the information I'd gathered in my head. I tucked it away for future reference so that I could consciously walk into my daughters arms and hold her in my heartfelt embrace where she was safe to feel her grief.

Being in my heart is not my habit. I'm comfortable in my head. Comfortable thinking and thinking and thinking. As one friend said to me long ago, "Louise, the most dangerous neighbourhood for you to spend time in alone is your head after dark." So true!

When I light my thinking with love, I move with grace, ease and dignity through my day. When I consciously think of what I am trying to create, and then let my heart guide me into taking the steps towards my goal, I am present in my life -- body, spirit, mind.

May you live your day with body, spirit, mind aligned with the joy of knowing, you are all that you are meant to be in love.

NOTE: If you are interested in taking a colors quiz, visit: http://www.truecolorscareer.com/ . The book, Living Your Colors: Practical Wisdom for Life, Love, Work, and Play, by Tom Maddron, is a powerful guide to colors and their relationships on the wheel of colors.

Monday, July 30, 2007

We reap what we sow

Every Sunday at Choices there is a spiritual service. This Sunday was one of those moments where it is possible to feel the Divine presence of something greater, something beyond the scope of our human experience.

His name is Al. A pastor all his life, he's just completing a one year sabbatical and isn't sure what his next steps will be -- will he continue on as a pastor, or continue working in his chosen career?

His story yesterday morning was about the choices we make in our lives, the seeds we sow, and the crops we reap. His words were powerful, the depth of his message dug deep into the fertile soils of everyone gathered in the room, and awoke the deep yearning we share to be the miracles of life we all are, the gifts of love we embody.

One of the stories he shared was of a visit with a dear friend whom he knew was dying of cancer. She had come to visit, wanting to share her remaining months with people she loves. During her visit, he asked if he could have a copy of a photo she'd shown him. He plunked it down on his scanner and wouldn't you know it, technology chose that moment to go on strike. After about ten minutes of fussing around the copier, his friend said, "I want more of our time together and less of that." and she pointed to the computer.

Time together is the field upon which we share our gifts. Fussing over technology, being distracted by TV or newspapers or even something as simple as a crossword puzzle when we are with people we love, does not plant seeds of wonder in the field of time we have to share.

Al's message was to cherish and nurture and value the gift of ourselves so that we can share with others the wondrous gardens of love we've planted in our lives. Use time to create a place where love abounds and spirits rise with every encounter.

Sow seeds of wheat, you'll enjoy a bountiful crop of wheat. You cannot expect to grow a crop of wildflowers if you plant barley. Sow anger, you will not reap joy.

We are all capable of sowing the seeds of love and joy and laughter we want in our lives. Too often, the gifts we carry lay fallow in our fear of weeding out the things that do not work in our lives. Instead of seeing the garden we've created as a place where we have planted the seeds, we point at 'others' as being responsible for the overgrown tangle of weeds flourishing in our midst.

In Al's story he invited everyone to gather up their gifts, to share them in love and to create the garden of our dreams.

It was a beautiful morning in which I got to experience one man's ability to share his gifts. He sowed seeds of joy and reaped a bountiful garden of love that will continue to bring joy to everyone who opened their hearts and let his gift rain upon their spirit.

In giving we receive. The more love we give, the more we receive. -- (which makes me wonder, why so often we give anger and expect to receive love in return?)

May your day be filled with the planting of seeds of love as you share your awesome gifts with the world around you.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

My heart is a safe place to flow into

This is 'Choices' weekend. (http://www.choicesseminars.com/) My daughters and I are coaching again -- Givers 1. It's an amazing 2 1/2 days filled with learning and sharing, caring, listening, being heard, being seen and being 'real'.

Choices is comprised of the first 5 days, followed by the two Givers weekends. So, both girls and I are back with our small groups from Choices, catching up and digging deeper.

Last night, there was a party for anyone who wanted to attend. What an amazing sight to see 200 people, ages toddler up (the oldest woman was about 80 in a walker). Everyone was on the dance floor, having fun, expressing themselves, dancing with someone, dancing with a group, dancing alone. And no alcohol.

One of the coaches and I were standing at the door, drinking water and watching the scene. "It's quite amazing," he said. "To witness so many people having fun letting their inner joy come out."

I agree. It is awesome.

When I arrived Friday night, I noticed tears clogging my throat. It's a phenomena I've noticed now every time I step into the choices room. At first, it worried me. What on earth is wrong? But my tears aren't about what is wrong. They're about everything that's right within me.

In the 'outside world', I'm really good at living in my head. I seldom let people see if I'm hurt, or in pain. I do not cry in public. I think my way through everything.

In the Choices room, I live in my heart. I feel connected to the source of my emotions, free and alive.

My challenge is always to bring that feeling of being 'at one' with myself and the world, back out into my every day. I move through it. Into it. Live it. Staying conscious, being aware, acknowledging what needs to heal or change allows me to dip into my feelings without fear that they will lead me into danger, or lead me astray. My feelings are an expression of me. When I'm centered, they do not flow willy-nilly onto the floor. When I'm breathing deeply, moving with grace and ease through my day, feelings move through me without dragging me into the drama of not knowing what I'm feeling. Sometimes I slip as I struggle to come to grips with what I'm thinking about what I'm feeling. And when I do, I breathe deeply again, connect thoughtfully with my feelings and move into being who I am, not who I think my feelings are telling me to be.

In the past, being in my heart was not a place I knew how to connect to safely. My tapes, self-defeating games, my past continually tripped me up into believing, the heart is not a safe place to live. Perhaps that's why for years when a man came calling, I always picked men who were emotionally unavailable. Because I'd thought it through, and read up lots on the subject, I knew what the thinking behind being emotionally available was. I became adept at fooling myself into believing I was emotionally available. I even believed myself as I thought, it's all their problem, not something we shared. I wasn't consciously choosing to be unavailable, I was unconsciously choosing not to be somewhere I didn't feel safe. The emotions surrounding being with someone unavailable were very, very familiar to me. It wasn't much of a stretch to be with someone who shared my state of being, thus, my fear level was always lessened when in the familiar safe zone of emotional unavailability.

At Choices, my heart is a safe place to flow into. My smile radiates from my heart, my love surrounds everything I do and think and feel. I stand exposed, confident that 'my best is good enough'. I'm safe with me, centered in my light, and in the truth I know is unassailable -- we are all magnificent human beings on the journey of our lifetimes. As I learn to let my emotions flow, as I learn to 'be real', to drop my masks and to be vulnerable, life takes on a richness and deepness I never before imagined. Sure, it's still scary at times, but this is a good scary. This is just fear moving through courage, connecting my thinking with my feeling so that I can be at one within me and with the world around me. As Franklin Roosevelt once suggested, the only thing I have to fear is fear itself.

I have nothing to fear when I step lovingly into heartfelt consciousness of living all that I am meant to be.

Have an awesome day spreading your wings and flying into the limitless possibilities of life beyond your comfort zone.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Forgiveness is a river that flows

He hasn't spoken to her in 12 years. He doesn't know if she's alive. He doesn't know where she lives. She moved and didn't leave a forwarding address, 12 years ago, when she realized she could not stop his drug-addicted behaviours from destroying his life. She knew she had to stop him from destroying hers.

She is his mother.

I wonder how she feels. To know that the miracle of life that had come from her body, that the little boy who once played Lego and wanted to be an astronaut, the boy who sat on her lap and played with her fingers, the boy to whom she once sang lullabies and told fairy tales could be, possibility might be, dead. To not know for all those years. To carry the pain. To wonder if she could have done anything different. If she'd only... and then to remind herself, I cannot change the past and then to move on with the ache in her heart, always there, easing a bit, but always there. I wonder how she feels. I can only imagine. I cannot know.

He came into my office yesterday and said, his voice strong, his hands steady, "I'd like to write that letter now. Is that room available for me to use?"

I nodded my head. I wasn't sure I could speak. It was a big moment.

Earlier in the week he'd come into my office, his ego bruised from an encounter with a couple of clients which led to a staff-member unfairly targeting him for something he didn't do. We'd talked through the drama. He'd got it straight in his head what had gone wrong. Where he was wronged and where he had wronged another in the process. He knew what he wanted to do to make it 'right.' He's a courageous kind of guy.

He was getting ready to leave when he blurted out. "I want to write a letter to my mom. I'm afraid to do it."

"And you're afraid because...?" I asked.

"I haven't had contact with her in 12 years. Last time I saw her, I stole from her." He shrugs his shoulders, a pained look flits across his face as memory surfaces. "I caused her a lot of pain."

Tears well up in his eyes. I wait.

"She doesn't know if I'm alive or dead." He pauses. "I don't know if she's alive or dead. She's in her 70s. She had to move. She was scared of me.... I don't blame her. I was scared of me back then. I was a scary guy."

He looks at me from where he sits on the other side of my desk in the blue chair, his slim hands clasped between his knees. He throws his head back, he looks at the ceiling. He sighs. "I want to tell her I'm alive. I want to tell her I'm sorry. I want to tell her so many things and I'm scared. I'm 41 years old and I'm scared of my mom." He looks at me. "What should I do."

"What's in your heart."

Nelson Mandela said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Yesterday, after a lifetime running from the truth, this courageous man conquered his fear. He wrote the letter he's been avoiding since getting sober a year and a half ago. I went in to see him after a couple of hours. He'd just finished. He sat at a table along the window. The view looks out across the river valley to the tree covered hillside beyond. Houses peeked out from amidst the greenery. The sky above was crystal clear blue. His blue eyes were cloudy with tears.

"I didn't know it would be so hard," he said. A tear falls onto the page in front of him. He laughs. "I'm such a cry-baby."

"I see you as a courageous man."

He looks down at the folded pages in front of him. He picks them up. Holds them out to me. "Here. Read it. Tell me if I said the right thing."

I hesitate. "Did you write from your heart?" He nods his head. "You've said the right thing."

He holds the letter further towards me. "Please?"

I take the letter. "I'd be honoured."

I try not to cry. I try not to let my emotions attach themselves to the words on the page. I don't have a script for this. I don't have a guidebook telling me what to do. What to say. I let my eyes fill with tears. I can't stop them.

I finish the letter. His eyes have never stopped watching my face. I hand the letter back to him.

"Thank you."

He looks surprised. "Thank you?"

"I once did to my daughters what's happened to your mother. I thought I'd forgiven myself, but I forgot. Forgiveness is a river. It is always flowing and sometimes, I need to dip into it to refresh myself. I've never had happen to me what happened to you. But your letter gave me the gift of knowing, whatever happens in life, whatever I do, forgiveness always opens the door to my heart."

"Do you think I should send it? What if she doesn't care? I mean, I know why she turned her back on me, but what if she just doesn't want to know what's happened in my life?"

"Mothers always care. She may have been forced to turn away, she may have had to do what she did, but a mother never closes the door to her heart. Love for a child can never be shut off."

He looks at me. Glances back out at the trees and houses across the river. The cerulean arc soaring above.

"I need to do the right thing."

I nodded my head in agreement.

He doesn't know if she's alive or dead. She hasn't known of his whereabouts for 12 years. We googled the town where he last knew she lived. His uncle still lives there. He wrote a note to his uncle on the outside of the envelope with his mother's letter inside. Dear Uncle M. Please get this to my mother. I love her. I love you. He signed his name and tucked the letter inside another envelope addressed to his uncle.

Somewhere in a post office a letter sits in a pile of letters waiting to board the plane that will carry it to its destination. It is searching for a mother's heart. Hoping it is still beating in time and in love.
An ending. A beginning.

He's done the right thing and can let go of another fear holding him back on his journey. He doesn't know the outcome. The outcome isn't what makes the difference. Though he fears he may be too late. He fears she may not be alive, or even willing to read his note. Whether she reads the letter or not, she will know that he's alive. He's done the right thing.

In life, we are always called to do the right thing. Sometimes, fear, anger, sadness, sorrow, grief limit our ability to step with courage into our fear and set ourselves free. To create new beginnings, we must begin at the end where we left off. We must do the right thing to step beyond that place where fear would tell us to do nothing.

May you live your day in freedom to do the right thing, regardless of the outcome.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Beyond the other side of comfort

A comment I often hear from women healing from encounters with men of the disorderly kind is, I'm never dating again.

My response is always, "never say never".

Dating is a natural process in the scheme of getting to know someone to determine how well you like them. It begins out neutral, 'seems interesting', and can rev-up to a commitment to have the next date, or it can downgear into the realization that this was the last date.

Dating is outside my comfort zone. In my twenties and later in my forties when I became single again, dating was not something I did with ease. My hungry heart and poor boundaries meant I always thought the date should go faster, reveal more, mean more. I kept searching for the more and ignoring the purpose of the date -- to discern. I leaped into it without caring one twit about what the other person needed as I scrambled to have my needs met by their presence in my life.

If I liked someone enough to go on the first date, I leaped to conclusions, ignoring my better judgement and my safety. I mistook my at-risk behaviours and excused them under the guise of "I'm a risk taker. Nothing ventured. Nothing gained." or, "I'm a hopeless romantic." and blinded myself to the truth of my at-risk behaviours.

Forget the cardinal rule, Safety First. I'd take someone else's being crazy about me, to mean I was crazy about them -- I mean, I should be right? He's a man. He wants me. Game. Set. Match. In my enthusiasm to have my hungry heart fed through someone else's adulation, I stepped in where even fools dared to tread because I was living in the moment and throwing all caution to the wind! I was a relationship junkie. Addicted to my need to fix myself up by finding my value in someone else's opinion of me.

Leaping into relationship had nothing to do with discernment. Nothing to do with honesty. And definitely nothing to do with finding a partner.

Leaping on blind faith had everything to do with the hormone charged adrenalin push of putting myself at risk unnecessarily. I was unconcerned about who they really were, just as I was unconcerned about how we 'fit' together. I just wanted the feeling of their admiration. Their chase. Their push into my boundaries and the feeling of relief I got in my capitulation. Or, conversely, I wanted the thrill of the hunt. I wanted to be the huntress, chasing after the one who got away because I told myself, they had the answer I was looking for.

I was not discerning. I couldn't be. I didn't know who I was, what I wanted, what I needed. I listened to their words. Ignored their actions. I listened to my fears of 'not having a man', of being alone and lonely, of my hungry heart's yearning, and let my fear propel me into risky situations.

I was a dating disaster. Which probably explains why when I did meet a man who asked me to marry him on our first date, I fell so hard. My sense of relief in finally meeting someone with as poor impulse control as I had overrode my common sense and what little I knew about keeping myself safe.

Yesterday, I wrote in my journal, When I heed the signs, I expand into the space of where I'm at. Confident in my ability to live outside my comfort zone -- not in my danger zone.

Dating is outside my comfort zone. It's not a danger zone if I step lightly and ease myself gently into the waters. Where my strength and courage comes to play is in my conscious ability to hold myself steady against the current. Not giving into its pull, but rather letting the waters rush around me as I become accustomed to where I'm at as I determine, is this where I want to be.

One date is an invitation to the next. No matter the pull of the water, I am safe from being pulled under when I determine the speed of my immersion. If the waters are too fast, I give myself time to build my strength. Or I retreat. I have choice. I exercise it at will.

Four years ago, when first I was released from the relationship disaster with the conman who promised to love me 'til death do us part, and lied about his intent, I knew the person I had to learn to trust the most in order to trust anyone else again, was myself. I wasn't ready for dating. I still had much to learn about me.

Today, I am confident in my ability to trust myself. I trust myself to be responsible for me and I trust others to be responsible for themselves.

Living freely means I do what is loving and healing and caring of me. To be true to myself, my principles, values and beliefs. To not let someone else's need to ignore my No sway me from my course. Saying No is my right. As Gavin de Becker writes in "Protecting the Gift", Declining to hear No is a signal that someone is either seeking control or refusing to relinquish it."

Once upon a time, I met a man who lied. I woke up to the truth and found myself alive and well on the road of life. In my journey, I will meet many men. Whether or not they lie, or deceive. Whether or not they fall in love at first sight, will not matter to my journey. I can't trust another until I trust myself. Today, I trust myself to know what is right for me. I trust myself to turn up, pay attention, speak my truth and stay unattached to the outcome.

In trusting myself, I risk stepping to the other side of my comfort zone confident in my ability to be safe within me. In taking the time to get to know someone else, I give myself the grace of time to become confident in my next steps. Whatever the direction they take, I know they will be the best steps for me.

I've come a long way.

May you come a long way in your journey into yourself. May you find the freedom to expand into the place you're at, confident in your ability to live outside your comfort zone.

Life is filled with limitless possibilities beyond the other side of comfort!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Stepping outside my comfort zone keeps me out of the danger zone

Buried within me are the memories of those events that caused such stress and turmoil in my life, and the lives of those I love. I have dealt with them, soothed them, lulled them into sleep.

And sometimes, they awaken. Certain places, certain people will inexplicably, and sometimes not so inexplicably, trigger the emotional memory quadrant of my brain to sit up on full alert and get active. The awakening is an involuntary response that I didn't initiate, but must work with to ensure it does not inhibit my life in freedom.

What an amazing place the mind is.

Recently I met a man. Intelligent. Humourous. Deep thinker. Great enthusiasm for leaping into life and experiencing it for all its worth. No holds barred.

It seemed like a perfect opportunity to explore relationship. That rocky terrain where I have hesitated to journey until I found stable ground within myself.

I stepped out of my comfort zone. Not far. But I stepped. Slowly. Not on the alert for trouble, but rather, on the lookout for connection, for those places where I could get comfortable in an unknown place.

As I ventured, staying true to my desire to journey awake and aware, I found terrain that was different but familiar looking in a hazy way. My emotional memory awoke. Caution signs popped up. Tread slowly. Breathe deeply. Keep your eyes open. Watch out for potholes.

I kept walking forward but my senses were on alert. This ground is not so foreign. I recognize the sensations. I know the feelings. I must be cautious.

Now, my reserve, my sensations were not based on who the other person is. I barely knew him. They are founded in me. My knowing, my understanding and my emotional memory. They were triggered by actions. By words spoken. Steps taken. Actions not taken. Actions acted out.

And that's the thing about emotional memory. If this had been a benign zone devoid of traits I didn't recognize on an intuitive plane, my emotional memory would have continued to snooze throughout the encounter.

Call it intuition. Call it sixth sense. Call it the heebie jeebies. My emotional memory alerted me to what I needed to do to ensure I stayed true to me. To ensure I did not lull myself to sleep beneath the blanket of my misconception that I was being silly, or over-responsive, or over-cautious. I was taking care of me. Doing what I needed to do to ensure I felt confident in every step I took.

And that is the value and beauty of life in freedom.

In my history I have been very adept at burying my head in the sand and closing my eyes to what was going on around and within me. I have been the Queen of Denial, floating down my river of blindness, ignoring the signs that a storms a-brewing, take heed, batten down the hatches, get off the river, find another route.

Today, I am confident in my ability to do what is best and right for me. My emotions live within me. They flow. Rise up. Calm down. I do not suppress them. I let them flow and take responsibility for how I express them.

Fear is the opportunity to be courageous.

In the past, when I felt fear, I pushed it back and leaped into the void of relationship to explore what the hell was going on, and often ended up discovering myself on the road to hell.

Within me exists a host of emotional memories of past events that caused me pain. Their job is not to cause me pain to day, but to awaken me to the danger I may be putting myself in by ignoring the signs that where I'm going is not where I'm meant to be.

When I heed the signs, I expand into the space of where I'm at. Confident in my ability to live outside my comfort zone -- not in my danger zone.

Putting myself 'at risk' is the danger zone I became accustomed to in the past. I know how to cope with the danger zone.

What I'm learning to do today is to be confident that as I step outside my comfort zone, I fly free of unhealthy risk-taking and liaisons that spell danger for me.

I fell asleep last night and dreamt of choices. Of paths taken. Journey's diverted. Options explored. Voyages aborted. I awoke this morning confident that this is my one and only life. Driven by fear I am drawn by courage to step out of my comfort zone into that place I've never been. Away from danger, into safety. A place where I can explore all I'm meant to be when I listen to my voice calling out to me to step free and let go and be all that I am meant to be. A wondrous human being on the journey of her lifetime.

Fly free. Journey confidently into the light of being your most amazing self today.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The tapestry of my life is filled with vibrant colour

Life is a beautiful tapestry. Colour and feeling woven together, threads drawn, threads snipped. Threads that hold their weave forever, threads that loose their warp and loosen. Each day threads connect, disconnect, Weave in. Weave out. Up and down, in and out in a rhythmic wave of motion.

The tapestry of my life is created beneath a warm and gentle weave of waves rolling into the sea, pulling under, pulling out, pushing forward. Each person, each encounter, each moment creates a delicate, vibrant thread, to be followed, to be left alone, to be explored, to be cherished for the value it adds, then tucked into the warp so that it doesn't unravel.

We each have our tapestry. Vibrant. Colourful. Filled with design. Sometimes balanced. Sometimes just a riotous explosion of feeling and texture and colour and design.

Sometimes, we step back and look at a thread and see where its value has created a unique perspective that will last a lifetime. Sometimes we step into a colour and discover its value is the length of the space it fills. No matter the length of the thread, its value is integral to the overall weave and warp of our tapestry.

Like colour. To enhance green, to make it pop out, the artist adds a hint of red at its edges. To make blue sparkle, a touch of yellow. Each colour adds value to the next.

Each encounter in my life adds depth, meaning, value. I carry with me memories, lessons learned, feelings felt, ideas explored. I carry with me the touch of someone's gentle words upon my heart, the imprint of their laughter. Their smile. Their eyes.

Every thread adds value not always seen to the one who has linked their thread into my tapestry and woven their unique story into mine, as I've woven mine into theirs.

Thoughts spinning, ideas leaping, the weave expanding to include the weave of someone else's threads.

That's life.

When a new thread begins to spin into my tapestry, I cannot see the 'big picture' value. I can only see the gentle warp and weave of a colour coming through the fabric of my life. It takes time to gather enough momentum, enough colour, enough space to create a meaningful picture of what that thread means in the picture I am creating of my life. Like writing a story. The characters must develop. They need time to expand, to reveal all their hidden depths, to explore the story that is unfolding.

I used to read the ending of a book first. I said it was because I was a writer. I wanted to examine the author's creative structure. I didn't want to be distracted by the story.

Truth is, I didn't want to be distracted by not knowing the ending. I wanted to know the ending from the beginning because I was impatient for the story to unfold. My impatience meant I couldn't savour each moment of the reading without being reassured of the ending first.

My need to read the ending first evaporated one day. Not sure when. But I've found myself reading, not leaping forward to the end, not leaping to conclusions, simply letting the story unfold.

Like life. Like relationships. Like love.

All stories need time. All people need time to feel the warp and weave of the story being created in their life. There's a lot of ways to pull a thread through a tapestry. Slow and gently, letting the strength of the wool determine the speed, the tension, the pull. Sometimes, when the pull of the thread is too fast, too sharp, too rigid, the thread breaks. Not because it didn't add value, but rather because its value never had time to unfold into the the tapestry through which it was being woven. The weaver hurried the process, pushed ahead of the flow. Like reading the ending of a story first, the weaver leaped to the value of its thread, and missed the value of the story unfolding.

The story of my life is a vibrant weave of feelings, colours, sensations, ideas, emotions, thoughts, actions. I am the weaver. I am the tapestry. I am the thread.

I am the life I create when I turn up, pay attention, speak my truth and stay unattached to the outcome. I do not look for the ending. I hold onto the the thread and weave a story of love, joy, compassion. A story of feeling the journey flowing beneath my fingertips and revelling in the warp and weave of its flow.

I am blessed. My tapestry is filled with the rich and vibrant colours of my life. Filled with love and friendship, of time spent with people who matter to me and to whom I matter. Of people who I count on to be part of my weave forever.

I am grateful for slim threads of friendship that have become rivers of colour flowing throughout my life. Of love that endures and smiles that I carry inside me, warming my heart with their glowing threads of memory that will never end.

These are the values woven into my tapestry. This is the colour of my life.

May your day be filled with colour and texture. May the values woven into the tapestry of your life be filled with love. May you create with every thought, word, idea, action, motion, feeling, emotion the beautiful tapestry of a rich and vibrant life in which your dreams come true.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The $8 sniff test

In, The Gift of Fear, (Little, Brown and Company, 1997) Gavin de Becker, writes, “I believe that the first time a woman is hit, she is a victim, and the second time, she is a volunteer…staying is a choice… I believe it is critical for a woman to view staying as a choice, for only then can leaving be viewed as a choice and an option.”

The relationship I was in was not physically violent. I feared physical violence every day. He threatened physical violence often. But he never had to strike me. His emotional terrorism kept me pinned with invisible arms to his abuse. Makes it harder to see the bruises, the results of his abuse. It doesn't make it harder to realize, I made a choice to be there.

I knew he was lying. I knew my life was in danger. I knew this wasn't 'normal'. Knew my thinking was way out of whack with reality. I knew my daughters were being caused emotional harm. I knew my family and friends were distressed. But I couldn't leave. I kept telling myself, I had no option. I kept choosing to believe him when he said he'd never let me go. I kept repeating all the reasons why I couldn't end it -- including the fact he'd never let me go. I wanted my life and money back. I wanted to get everything out of storage. I wanted to know the truth.

There was no truth in him or that relationship. There was especially no truth in what I was telling myself. I told myself I stayed because I had to. I stayed because I was too afraid of what might happen if I left. I stayed because I told myself I didn’t have any option. I lied. There were always options. Just not one’s I was willing to acknowledge.

In The Gift of Fear, and his subsequent book, Protecting the Gift, de Becker talks about the need to face reality. What is real and true and actual. An elevator door opens. You look inside and see a man standing there. He smiles at you. There's something about him that makes you feel uncomfortable. You hear the voice inside whisper, "Take another elevator." Your 'let's pretend' voice, says, "Get in. There's nothing wrong." What do you do? Heed the voice of doubt and wait for the next elevator? Or, get into a steel chamber with a closed door with a stranger?

When I wrote that last word I almost typed, 'perfect' stranger. But there's nothing perfect about a stranger. It's just one of those little myths that live in my head because of societal imprinting. Perfect and stranger have been linked since I can remember. Yet, if I think about it, what's perfect about a stranger other than I know nothing about him or her? If a voice of doubt sizzles up my spine, do I heed it and risk appearing rude or fearful? Or, do I listen, tell myself, "This is a stranger and I don't feel comfortable about him." Whether he thinks I'm rude or not, it's my choice to take the next elevator. Today, I choose to wait and take the next one when my intuition speaks.

I'm not suggesting we live in a world of constant danger. I believe we live in a world of constant wonder. It is my responsibility to savour every moment, to delight in each moment and to walk consciously through my day; to keep myself safe from harm, to heed my intuition when I feel uncomfortable.

Yesterday, I received an email from two different people about a 'clear and present danger' to women. Bands of people were lurking in shopping mall parking lots attempting to abduct women. Their ploy, a tiny strip of ether soaked sniff test paper posing as an $8 knock-off of a $20 perfume sample. The warning came with a long, 'this almost happened to me but I dodged the bullet' missive from a woman in the police service. I read the text and thought, this is important information to know. In fact, at the top of the email it told me this was very important information to know and I must share it with everyone on my email contact list.

What was most important about the information, however, were the questions I asked. I wondered, what was the likelihood of a little strip of paper containing enough ether to knock me out? I mean, think about the movies you've seen. When ether's applied to knock out a 'kidnappee', it comes soaked in a cloth of unknown origins that is held at length against the victim's mouth and nose. Doesn't ether have a strong smell? Doesn't it evaporate in the air? Couldn't I tell the difference between an $8 perfume knock-off posing as a $20 perfume that is actually ether intended to render me unconscious?

I went on a hunt. Sure enough. The $8 sniff test doesn't pass the truth or fiction test. It's an urban myth. http://www.snopes.com/crime/warnings/perfume.asp

Which brings me back to being aware and conscious. Making choices that celebrate the wonder of my life in freedom.

When I honour myself, honour my freedom and my beautiful life, I am aware of both the dark and lightside of living on this complex, magical and mystical planet we call earth. When the elevator comes and I choose not to ride with a stranger, I am perfectly okay with my choice. Doesn't mean I'm paranoid. It means I honour my life and my right to make choices that state clearly and unequivocally, I am free. I have choice. I acknowledge there are risks, I will not put myself at undue risk. I exercise my choice for my own good.

When I was in that relationship that caused so much pain and stress on my life and the lives of those I love, I didn't honour my life, nor my right to make choices that celebrated my freedom. I continually made choices based on fear, denial, terror, confusion. I made choices based on what one man told me to be true, and never questioned the possibility that it was all fiction. I chose to believe he wouldn't hurt me, even when the facts so clearly demonstrated, yes he would.

In my denial, I lost sight of the truth. My choices make the difference in my life. Will I choose to celebrate life, or kill off any hope of freedom? Will I open doors to change, or slam them shut in the face of possibility? Will I step into my fear of the unknown, or, will I stay stuck in my denial of what is, fearful of what could be?

In my life today, I accept with open arms the truth of who I am. I am responsible for me. Never accepted it back then. I wanted to deny the truth. I wanted to avoid taking responsibility for the one life I have total control of. Mine.

That is the joy in my life today. When I do something that holds me back, puts me down, or simply keeps me stuck, I know I've made a choice to undermine my beautiful life. It's up to me to ask the tough questions. (What's in it for me to do this? What's the purpose of my living in fear? Why do I believe I deserve to treat myself with disrespect?...) To make better choices. To acknowledge my mistakes. To change my actions. To step in a different direction.

That is the joy of freedom. I have the power to create a beautiful life for myself. It's up to me to live it with all I'm worth.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Life: It progresses as I expand my horizons.

I am a work in progress. I did not arrive in this world with a 'best before date'. I didn't arrive with a pre-determined end date at which the dough is proofed, the bread is risen, I'm baked. There's no point in time at which I get to say, I'm finished. Complete. Know everything there is to know. Have done everything I can do to make the creation of me perfect. Though there is a point everyday in being my best me so that I can create my best day yet.

I am a work in progress. As I progress, my life unfolds. The definition of progress infers movement, a steady improvement, an advancement towards a higher state. Sometimes, its hard to see how certain events can be progress. They felt more like falling back. Falling over. Falling in, like a souffle collapsing.

What if I could look at every happening in my life as progress? What if I could take four years nine months of an abusive relationship as forward movement towards my goal of being the best me I can be today so that I can have my best day yet?

Life serves up bowls of cherries. At the centre of each one, there's a pit. That pit can either be garbage, or the possibility of a cherry tree in the yard. Bowl full of cherries. Bowl full of pits. Garden of blossoming cherry trees. It's all in my perspective.

My progress in creating the life of my dreams depends upon how I look at the events that happen along my journey. I meet a man. I don't know who he is. I jump in. I fall into my worst nightmare. I wake up from magical thinking and see the devastation around me. I start to move forward, sifting through the debris to find the truth in what happened to me. The fall didn't kill me. Lying in the muck of what happened would have.

The premise is, I can't always orchestrate the external events in my life to my advantage. In fact, if I am not paying attention, if I do not have a clear idea of who I am, I will be at great risk of becoming who someone else wants me to be. To awaken, to claim my right to be all of me, I garner valuable knowledge from every circumstance in my life and find their value to my journey.

George Santayana wrote, "Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Now, I believe progress does consist of change. It's how we retain the past that makes a difference. So many men and women I speak with who have had encounters of the psychopath kind report that they can't forget the past. It haunts them. Shadows their every move. Limits their every interaction. Without exploring themselves, their role in how the past unfolded, without changing their perspective on the events that brought them to today, they are condemned to relive the past again and again in their minds.

I believe the past is important to who I am today. What I do today. Not in its limitations, but rather, in its ability to strip away my tunnel vision, ostrich perspective and magical thinking. The past is not where I live today. Having lived it, however, I live more freely today because the past has taught me, life is precious, every moment counts and I am responsible for how I make each moment count in my life. Being alive, being aware of me, my surroundings, what I do, who I am is critical to living without the shadow of the past haunting me.

I cannot change the past. Just as I could not back then, nor today, change another person. Had I known then, however, what I know now about myself, I would not have accepted the unacceptable as acceptable in my life.

And that's where the value in the past plays a role in the beauty of my life today.

I have progressed. Away from that time when I was like a dandelion puff on the wind. Rootless. Weightless. A piece of fluff blown hither and thither by any gust of wind.

I have taken root. Dug deep into the soils of my life and rooted myself in earthy richness of knowing who I am, what I want, want I need to be free. Freedom is not a rope tied to the past limiting my every footstep. Freedom is being rooted in myself so that I know every footstep I take is fearless because I am rich beyond belief. I have a past that has shown me the depth and richness and vibrancy of me. I have a present that shows me how creative I can be. And, I have a future I cannot see, but know that I can affect by standing true to me, in love with all I am today.

What if I could look at every happening in my life as progress? I can. It's all in my perspective. Do I choose to live in fear that the past will repeat itself? That every man will be a repetition of 'that man'? Or do I choose to use my discernment, my knowledge and my fearlessness, to determine my journey today in freedom?

No man, no thing can give me happiness. It is mine to complete. No man, no thing can complete me. I am complete. Just the way I am. I haven't reached my best before date. Haven't hit the magical date of my end in progress, and so I continue my journey, passionately and fearlessly. Fearlessness is vital. Fearlessness keeps me safe from repeating past mistakes. Because I know that when I turn up for me, in all my beauty, warts and all, I am being the best me I can be today.

All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently, the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships. (George Bernard Shaw)

Once upon a time, I believed someone else held the secret to my happiness. Once upon a time, I believed I was powerless to change my life, to create the life of my dreams.

Today I know the truth. I've pulled back the blinds, challenged my conceptions and rid myself of censorship. No one else can make my dreams come true. This is my one and only life to fearlessly explore all that I am meant to be. In my progress, sometimes, I trip. Sometimes. I fall. Always, I strive to move with grace and ease into my truth. I am free when I stand in the centre of my 'I' and expand into the moment without fear of being pulled from my own unique place under the sun.

May your day be filled with knowing you are rooted in the most magnificent creation in the world. Who you are in this moment is all that you are meant to be. Who you can be is yet to unfold. Every day is an opportunity to expand and be more than you ever dreamt possible.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Painting over: Creating value in all things

I love to paint. Love to take a blank canvas and begin to expose shape and form, colour and light upon its surface. When I paint, a process reveals itself that parallels how I journey through life. I paint. I let it sit. Realize it's not working for me. Paint over it. In the paint over journey, I discover the beauty of what lies beneath and the value of what it brings to what appears on the surface. The textures, colours, light of the original comes through the new painting to add depth and meaning to the finished product.

The painting I'm working on right now has had 3 incarnations. First, it was water with a band of trees at the edge. It remained water and trees until I threw more paint, added lots and lots of texture to the surface. Finished product? Lacked depth. Balance. Symmetry. The trees appeared as a sidebar. An afterthought. Disconnected from the whole. Frantic. Chaotic. Messy.

Yesterday, I changed the perspective on my painting. Took it from horizontal to vertical. I looked at the surface colours and textures and wondered, how do I create value out of what is there? I thought about painting over with white and then starting again, leaving only the textures to work with. I thought of a light white wash that let some of the colour shine through as well as the texture. I kept looking at the painting in its new perspective, waiting for the 'truth' to come through.

I love Dioxazine Purple. Love its depth. Its richness. Its vibrancy. I squirted a big huge glob of dioxazine purple onto my palette and began to paint over the canvas on my easel.

That's when the magic happened. Suddenly, the blues and yellows, teals and golds and reds and greens of the underpainting began to merge into a pool of deep water. In places, the dioxazine purple created a sense of a deep pool of silent water. In others, a thin wash over the existing paint created a sense of water sparkling and dancing in sunlight. My canvas took on a life of its own. A scene never before considered began to emerge. A pond of water lilies began to appear.

Like life. When we meet someone we have no idea who they are, what their role in our lives will be.

Sometimes, the journey of getting to know someone turns into an upside down madcap affair that ends in sorrow. Like an encounter with a conman. We have no idea that a simple hello could turn into an encounter with the dark side of the prince who stole our heart. Sometimes, a hello can become a madcap friendship filled with times shared, laughter, joy and loving support with nothing more threatening than a kiss on the cheek and a warm hug when you say good-night, but never good-bye. Sometimes, hello can become a madcap affair that leaves us feeling well-loved, well-lived, well. It may end, but the memories continue to vibrate and thrum throughout our existence. And as we paint the world in all its amazing colour, each brushstroke, each touch of brush to canvas enlightens the view of what is appearing in our lives, and deep within us.

Buried beneath the many layers of my being are scenes of happiness. Scenes of sorrow. Joy. Fear. Anticipation. Expectation. Glorious jubilation. Grinding sadness.

No matter the scene within me, its value is in the vision I create today when I awaken to my life and paint it in living colour. There are bumps and blisters. Ridges of pain, oceans of joy, pools of sorrow. With every stroke I take today, the value in my past is the richness it brings to my life in this moment. In painting over what was, I reveal what is -- depth and beauty -- warts and all.
Changing my perspective, using the underpainting to add depth and meaning to what I do today -- make a difference. To my memories of the past. In my life. In how I create value in all things.

In every life sorrow will fall. In every life joy will abound. In every life there is the opportunity to paint a new, more vibrant, more colourful picture of life as you know it. You get to paint the life of your dreams.

Live it up. Paint it wild. Paint it bright. Paint your life the colours of the rainbow and revel in the beauty of your painting today.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Imaginary friends and being courageous

When I was a little girl, I had an imaginary friend. His name was Qoozel. Even as a little girl, I loved letters. Certain letters more than others. Loved the Q -- so cool. So questioning. Loved two 'o's together. Like owls eyes. Bright. Inquisitive. Loved the 'z'. Like a road serpenting. A path leading off into the woods. And the letter 'l'. Well, it's the first letter of my name. It's straight and tall. Stalwart. Forthright. Unquestioning of its place amongst the letters of the alphabet.

As a child, I didn't know what it was about those letters I liked so much. I just liked them. And, they were the name of my imaginary friend. I knew I couldn't have named him. He came with his own name already attached. Qoozel wasn't a person as much as a bear. Which sometimes made it difficult taking him places with me. People were always so afraid of bears.

I loved Qoozel. He wasn't afraid of anything. Of going anywhere. Of doing anything. He was brave.

Not like me. I was scared. But Qoozel gave me courage. With Qoozel, I could leap tall buildings. Explore unknown territory. Step beyond the confines of where I was, to search for where I wanted to go.

Qoozel was my eyes. My ears. My voice. My heart. He was my friend.

Somewhere on that road from childhood to adulthood Qoozel vanished. Perhaps he got tired of not being able to come out with me all the time. Perhaps I got tired of having to explain to people who Qoozel was when I took him out. Perhaps I grew embarrassed of his presence in my life and turned my back on him as I opened myself up to the possibilities that I could be courageous without Qoozel leading the way.

The other night I spoke with a friend who also happens to be a Psychiatrist. Awhile ago she asked me to take part in a survey she was conducting about women who become involved with psychopaths. I agreed. I too wanted to know if her premise was true -- that women who become involved with these types share some of the same characteristics. Her results are a resounding, yes.

I'm not going to go into her findings -- those are hers to reveal. If anyone is interested, visit her site at: www.justlikehisfather.com. You can contact her from there. You can also take the survey by emailing me at: louise@dandelionspirit.com for more details.

In our conversation the other night, she said something very profound for me. I am a risk taker. Now, I know I am a risk-taker. Always have been. Qoozel taught me how long ago! However, over the past few year, I've been trying to eradicate that aspect of my personality. "You can't." My friend said. "It's neuro-chemical. You're hard-wired. It's part of you. It's something you should applaud. Love. Cherish."

"I've wanted to get rid of it," I replied. "Because I know it's what left me at risk of Conrad's lies."

"The fact you're too accepting and too forgiving, coupled with risk-taking, left you at risk," my friend said. "The opportunity is to find the balance so that you continue to thrive through your risk-taking nature without putting yourself at risk by being too accepting of other people's risk-taking behaviours in your life."

Once upon a time I had an imaginary friend Qoozel. He didn't teach me how to be strong. To stand up for myself. To stand for my beliefs, principles. Ideals. Values. He taught me how to be courageous so that I could face what I needed to face and learn how to love myself. Learning how to be strong, to stand up for me, my beliefs, ideals, values -- that's been the journey of my life. The adventure of my lifetime.

Life is an adventure. I take risks. I grow. I learn. I change. I get better at what I do, who I am. Who I can be when I do not allow other people to put me at risk because I accept their unacceptable behaviours. As I've grown, I accept that I can forgive. That's part of being loving. Forgiveness doesn't let anyone, including myself, off the hook of accountability for what they've done or said or created that put me or someone else at risk. Forgiveness opens me up to my courage, to my knowing that I can be all I'm meant to be when I live fearlessly and passionately in love with myself.

Qoozel has vanished but the courage he taught me lives on. I'm willing to risk the unknown because I have the courage to turn up for myself without fear of ever being less than all that I am meant to be.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Ghosts and other spooky characters

Not sure why an article on a Mastermind group made me think of ghosts. But this morning, while reading Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich!" (powerful book), I started thinking about ghosts. Not the spooky, popping out of the closet scary kind, but the ethereal, I'm in your head hiding in the crevasses of memory, popping out when you least expect me, kind of ghost.

I've got lots of them. Ghosts of the past. Ghosts who wend their way through the alleyways of memory, slipping in and out of time present, time past, blocking egress, blocking access, blocking sight. Time waits for no man. Ghosts don't care about time. They can be rather inconvenient.

Along with Napoleon Hill this morning, I also read and watched and listened to a powerpoint presentation a friend sent me. This one was nice. It didn't finish with dire warnings of untold disasters visited upon me if I didn't forward it on. It simply said, Enjoy. This one's for you.

And see, another ghost lurking in the shadows edges his way into the light. The song on this powerpoint was, "You are so beautiful." by Joe Cocker. I went to one of his concerts once, long ago, in Toronto. Amazing voice. Odd character. Ghosts of men past. The man I saw this concert with was named Grant L. His name isn't important. His connection to a woman named Valerie is. Grant and I dated off and on for a couple of years. I was living in the west. He was in Toronto. Long distance means long periods of time for life to unfold separately. As mine unfolded away from the time we saw Joe Cocker together and he gave me a rose and tried to sing his feelings for me, I didn't treat him that well. I couldn't stand still long enough to hear someone else's thoughts on who am I. I was struggling to find myself.

Everything is connected to everything, someone said. Is it? I look at the thread this morning of singular events unfolding with ghosts slipping onto the screen of my projections. The connections appear when I look forward with my eyes focused on the past and skip the place I'm at.

Searching for meaning in what might be I miss the wonder of right now. Even ghosts have the power to connect dots in memory to create a vivid picture of possibility, a gentle wafting scene of a movie reel unwinding, creating images, telling the story. A movie has clear touchpoints to bring the audience in, to suspend their disbelief so they believe anything is possible. To bring to life an idea, a thought, a possibility. Beginning. Middle. End. There must be drama. Tension. Something valuable to lose. Something worthwhile to gain.

Like life. Not the final, bye-bye, so long, story's over, but the movie in the making. A script. The guideline. A series of events. Some fortunate. Some not so. But always leading somewhere. Building tension. Creating drama. We are the director acting out our part. Surrounded by actors. Some with roles to play. Some not. And always, a story to be told. A place to be. People to see. Things to be seen. Things evolve. People change. Events happen.

There are a thousand scenes captured. A hundred and one possibilities of what if... Which ones will fall to the cutting room floor? Which ones will make the final cut? In life, scenes unfold. Some play it out to melt into the next. Others have a brief flare of creativity only to fall back into memory. Some simply hide, ghostly images waiting to slip into the moment to remind me that life is a mystery filled with endless possibilities of what if tomorrow.... Life is in the moment. Living it with feeling, savouring every moment, is where the action's at.

"The most splendid future will always depend upon the necessity to release the past." That was one of the messages in the powerpoint I watched this morning.

The most splendid life will always depend upon the necessity to let go of the ghosts and welcome with open arms the possibilities of life beyond the camera, beyond the cutting room floor, beyond the memories of what wasn't so that I am free to experience what is.

Long ago, I knew a man named Grant. He introduced me to a woman named Valerie. Many years later she would suggest to someone else he meet me. A story pierced through the fabric of the tapestry of my life. A few touchpoints. A thousand opportunities to take off on a tangent. To journey into unknown territory. To step beyond the story of my life as I knew it, into the possibility of my life untold.

Ghosts. Leaping into the void. Stepping free of clinging mists. Flying free of ghosts. In my life I've known many men who would appear to be solid. Today, they're only ghosts. Who they were isn't what made the difference in my life.

Ghosts are simply memories of times when I was not sure of myself. Of a time when I didn't know who I was, what I wanted, where I was going. Ghosts aren't real. They were signposts leading the way to who I am today. What I make of them, makes them real, or not, today. In real time, real life, present time, present life, I know who I am when I walk free of ghosts. My values, morals, principles beliefs. I know what is important to me. And in that knowing, I have the gift of time to be all of me, without fear that the ghosts of what could have been, will hijack the possibilities of what is.

To leap. To step forward free of history. To move into today without fear that yesterday will be tomorrow, requires my attention. It calls for my commitment to being all that I am meant to be when I do not give into my fear that I am not enough to sustain myself through good times, bad times, times when I feel weary and alone. Times when memory lies, and ghosts awaken.

Whatever will be, will be. Que sera sera.

I am free of ghosts when I walk with my eyes wide open to the wonder of my life in freedom. To the awesome power of this moment in which all I have is everything I need to be me.

This morning, I'm okay. Long ago, I knew a man named Grant. He had a friend named Valerie. She had a friend who called with the possibility of a door opening into the unknown. Can't see what I can't see. The future is yet to unfold. Ghosts recede into the mists of yesterday.

One story ends as a new day breaks upon the possibilities of what today may bring and I step free and fly. Fly. There's no fear in falling. Only in being free.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Making what's wrong right doesn't make it okay.

This morning, I awoke early. I had a volunteer commitment at 6am and didn't want to be late. I forgot last month. Didn't want to risk letting down my fellow volunteers at Inn from the Cold.

It's an interesting conundrum. 3 churches every night open their doors to homeless families. Approximately 60 to 70 people every night bused to different locations throughout the city and retrieved every morning to be deposited downtown at the offices for Inn from the Cold. During the school year, the children are taken to a school, the same one every day -- they need stability. Working mothers and fathers find their way to work. They spend their day gathering coin, earning a living, and at night, the cycle continues.

What's wrong with this picture?


In making available a program that houses families in a different place every night, we make it possible for abuse by homelessness to continue. No child should have to live such an unstable, insecure and disruptive life. It isn't right and when we make it work, we make it okay.

For ten years this program has given refuge to homeless families -- I believe that if we can orbit the earth in satellites, land on the moon and fly to Mars, we are capable of finding a solution that delivers a more dignified solution to families experiencing homelessness.

Whew! Now that I've got that off my chest, I feel better.

I work in a shelter that gives succor to homeless adults. Doesn't make homelessness right. Doesn't make it okay. It is still wrong that we have not found a way to stem the flow of humanity falling prey to addictions, family break-ups, domestic violence, abuse, mental disorders.

Once upon a time, I was homeless. Conrad and I had supposedly bought a house together. The paper work was forged. I didn't know it. I knew, somewhere deep inside, it was all a lie. I knew, somewhere in the depths of my despair that my life was a mess. And I was homeless. But I didn't call it that. I stayed with friends. I was lucky. They loved me enough to give me a place to stay. They too endured the horror and terror of those final months of my spiral into hell. They didn't know what to do. They didn't know if Conrad was lying, if he was a fraud, if his stories of the problems surrounding the closing of our 'new' home were just a lie or if they really were true. They didn't know what Conrad was doing, they just knew that they wanted to help me. and they did.

I remember the feeling of being helpless, of being lost, frightened, ashamed of what had become of my life. My daughters were living at their fathers, they too were helpless, lost, frightened, ashamed. I was desperately holding my finger in the dike of my despair, praying the floodgates keeping my terror back would not break. My breath came in shallow bursts. My body hurt. Every muscle. Every fibre. Every cell. In my head there was a loud and constant roaring. I couldn't think. I dare not feel. I dare not say a word. I kept smiling. Praying nobody would see behind my carefully constructed armour of self-reliance that I was dying of shame, and guilt and fear and sorrow.

I watch the families this morning gather up their meagre belongings and I wonder if they too are feeling shame and guilt and fear and sorrow.

I know they are.

I can't make right what is wrong in their lives. I can't pass a magic wand and make it all better. While what happened to my daughters was awful, they never had the trauma of moving every night to a different church, sleeping in a wide open hall with 4 or 5 other families. Eating communal meals with 20 other people, every night, night after night. Of awakening every morning to different faces cheerfully saying good-morning, serving you breakfast. It is wrong.

It is right that we care. It is not okay what happens to these children when they shuffle from place to place with no place to call home.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Universe Doesn't Care. (Part 2)

The Universe at work? Or just Blogspot taking care of business. Yesterday I attempted to post, Part 2 and lo and behold, I was blocked. A spam blocker robot detector had my blog under investigation and it was being help captive. This morning, all's well in cyberland and I can post at will! Sorry about the delay. Forces beyond were at play.

In, "The Dandelion Spirit, A true life fairytale of love, lies and letting go" I tell the story of my fall into hell, and my journey back into the light. The first section is told in the third person. When I was writing it, I didn't want to write about the fall. But I had to. It was important to describe those events that led me so far astray from my life so that others could understand what it was.

Now, psychopaths and narcissists and sociopaths and other disordlerly letters of the alphabet, have certain tactics they use to create FOG withint their victims. FOG stands for Fear. Obligation. and Guilt. Their behaviour is predicated upon their disorder, their mental constructs, their morals, values and principles.

In the end, it didn't matter what he did. It was my blindness, my willingness to let go of my morals, values, principles that led me so deeply into his lair. It was my victim mentality that drew me further into his lies.
In the end, it wasn't the Universe plotting my course to self-destruction. It was me. I was a victim.

Letting go of my victim thinking has been a journey of my lifetime. I describe it thus in The Dandelion Spirit,

He was arrested on a Wednesday morning.Thursday I spoke with the police. Friday I started to write my statement.That weekend I went for a hike in the rain and sat in the forest and cried and cried.Not because I missed him -- believe me, I didn't -- but because I felt so lost and alone and tired. And then I remembered to breathe. Slowly my sense of calm returned.I knew there was a lot to do but for today, what was most important was to keep breathing. Keep putting one step in front of the other until eventually, my steps would all lead into the right direction -- freedom.

For most of my life I was a victim. Never admitted it. Never accepted it. That day, sitting in the woods with the rain pouring down, mixing with my tears, I accepted that I had been a victim. It was time to let go of my victimhood and take charge of my life. It was time to forgive myself for anything and everything I had ever done that hurt me and those I love. It was time to make amends with the past. And so, I cried and the healing began.

When I look back at that moment, I see the choice I made to awaken. To awaken from magicial thinking, victimhood, blaming, shaming and self-denial. My distress was not caused by a force outside of me. Conrad was gone. I was still in distress. My angst was caused by my thinking. By my behaviours that had continually left me at risk of being pulled from my path into the traffic careening wildly on someone else's route through life.

As a victim, I could believe that Conrad was the cause of my distress. As a victor I could not. If I believed that he was responsible than I would have to believe he was in charge of my destiny -- and that's just not true. He's not that powerful. Sure, his actions, words and deeds contributed to my angst, to my pain. Without him I wouldn't have feared for my life or for my daughters' lives. But he was not the cause of my distress. My choice to not walk away the 101 times I could have done so when first I stepped into his lair and was awake enough to question the red flags waving on the road of happily-ever-after, kept me blinded to the truth. My choice to keep moving deeper and deeper into relationship with him kept narrowing my choices down to the point where all I could see were the dark walls of the corridor of fear in which I walked. My choices narrowed down to tunnel vision in the darkness of the lies he had spun to keep me trapped in my belief that he was what I deserved.

Doesn't mean I deserved what he did. Doesn't mean I got what was coming to me. Doesn't mean a giant unseen hand somewhere out there in the universe was directing me into the web of abuse. There was no plot to destroy me by an unseen hand. The destructive plot was Conrad's. He made choices to keep it tightly wound around my neck so that the blood couldn't run freely to my brain.

He made lots of choices. So did I. It was my cloudy thinking. Foggy insight. Misty vision, however, that kept me trapped into making choices that led me further and further away from my path into the darkness. And in that process, I connected to the darkness within me that whispered, "This is what you deserve. See, you are unworthy. You are a black soul which no light can penetrate. This is what you deserve." Awakening to the darkness within me, I made choices that belied my magnificence so that I could prove the lie I held deep inside, "I am unworthy." I qualified my being with unworthiness and struggled to prove myself right in all my wrongness. I struggled to ignore my truth so that I could be wrong.
I am. A human being. A spirited essence journeying through life. A magnificent creation of love and light. A miracle of life.

How I travel throughout this journey is my choice. Just as how I heal, how I grow, how I learn, how I fly, is up to me. The Universe doesn't care if I fly. It knows I can. It has no expectations that I will spread my wings and soar. It isn't waiting with baited breath to see if I fall into the mud and wallow in self-pity. It knows I am capable of greatness. I am a reflection of its magnificence.

Ultimately, the universe isn't the issue -- I am the issue in my life. When I care enough about myself to make choices that create the difference between living wholly or living under the veil of victimhood, I choose becoming the victor in my life I have always wanted to be.

The universe doesn't care. But I do. I care enough to care about me with loving hands and an open heart listening to my thoughts speaking through my mind in love with the world around me.

The universe is. We are. I am. Free.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Universe Doesn't Care. (Part 1)

This is not a city where air conditionning in houses is the norm. Summer is generally a temperate zone. Warm days. Cool nights. Air conditionning optional.

This summer is above the norm. Hot days. Warm nights. Oh where oh where is the air conditionning?

Sleep becomes fragmented snippets of restful bliss interspersed with restless tossing in the heat. No matter how many fans are blowing, there just isn't enough coolness to slip into slumbering dreamland. And the constant whirring of the fan! Some call it white noise. I call it annoying. The continuous hum that overrides thinking, meditating, relaxing, challenges me to become still. To feel my breath. To feel my essence beating within me.

I wasn't sure what I would write about this morning. Made a choice to go through my emails first. And there was an email from a friend talking about choices. The one's she's made and how life never reveals where it's going to take us until the moment it happens.

Normally, I respond to emails after I've written. This morning, I made a different choice. In that process, I cleared the way to thinking about choices some more.

Recently, I listened to a woman speak about life and God and love and living. She said, "The universe doesn't care." In her presentation she talked about how in the Universe, whether our belief structure be centered on God, Buddha, Mohammed, or any other Divinity, there wasn't some divine master keeping score of our every choice, writing them down in a two-column list headed: Good Choices/Bad Choices. He or She wasn't up there directing the stars into alignment when we performed according to plan, or causing some cataclysmic cosmic disaster to 'pay back' some minor, or major, transgression we had perpetrated in the dark.

The universe doesn't care. It's busy doing it's thing. Being the all it is meant to be.

For me, it was a wildly exciting thought. The issue isn't "why does this happen to me?". The issue is, are the choices I'm making creating more of what I want in my life or less? Is this choice, in this moment, in alignment with my values, beliefs, principles? Can I live with the consequences of this choice? Is it important?

Now some choices are simple. My coffee in the morning is an easy one. The choice to meet a man for dinner tonight, that's easy too. A date is an invitation to explore unknown territory. To get to know someone so that the next date becomes a possibility -- or not. It's the choice we make after the date. Picking November 3 as my target date to have my next book completed is a choice. The choices I make between now and then will determine my success. The choice is always mine. To open doors. To close them. To step into the unknown. To retreat to familiar territory. To leap into the void. To cling in fearful trepidation to the past. The choice is mine.

In August of 1998 I met a man. I met a hundred men that year, but this particular man had a profound, and at times terrifying, affect on my life. The universe didn't put him in my path. A business meeting put him in my path. In that first encounter, my choice was to meet him, greet him.... and then to become intriqued by him. With each subsequent choice I made to stay intriqued by him, I stepped further and further into the lair of his deceit.

As time moved on and I lost sight of myself, I became less and less able to make healthy choices. Every choice I made began with the thought, what will he think, do, say? Every thought I had was predicated upon his voice in my head repeating his lies, his incantations that he held all the answers. I began to believe I was powerless to make my own choices. As I began to believe in my own powerlessness, it became true. I lost my belief in my ability to make my own choices. In my fear and turmoil, I lost my understanding of who I am as I fell into my fear that he was all that I was meant to be and have and become in this world.

At the end of that encounter, my choice was simple: To live. without fear. Without shame. Without sorrow and regret clouding my vision of the possibilities of my life in freedom. To be free from the past, from fear, from the belief that he was all I deserved, I had to make choices that loved me, supported me, nourished me and celebrated my life away from abuse.

No matter my choices in that relationship, I never ever deserved to be abused. No one deserves abuse. If I were to believe that God determined what I happened to me, then I'd have to believe he wanted me to be abused while I was in that relationship. And that's just not true.

The Universe doesn't care and God's busy taking care of the universe.

I have to care. About me. About my life. About what I'm doing. Where I'm going. Who I'm going with. I have to care enough about me to make choices that celebrate my divinity, my magnificence, my life.

The universe doesn't care. It simply is.

Just as I am. I am a spiritual being on the incredible journey of my lifetime. Free to make choices that support me, love me, honour me, celebrate me. Or not.

The choice is mine. How I live my life is up to me. In spirit-driven freedom, or soul-searching angst. My choice! My life! My freedom to be me!

May you have a spirited day filled with choices that celebrate the magnificence of you.

Note: This is Part 1 of The Universe Doesn't Care. Check back tomorrow for Part 2 where I talk about how my choices while in an abusive relationship created the abuse in my life. Never deserved it. But I did create what I feared by the choices I made.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Dandelion choices and growing free.

Choices. Every day I make them. Every day I choose which direction to step. Forward. Back. It's my choice.

Yesterday I chose to set up a "Google Alert" on my book title, "Dandelion Spirit". I had no idea how many times the word 'dandelion' appears every day.

Dandelions. They're ubiquitous. Determined. Tenacious. Dandelions grow in spite of every attempt we make to eradicate them. Dandelions are fearless.

When I was in my teens I was chosen by my school in Germany to go to a week long training to become a 'student mentor'. I was chosen to go to this course because, everyone knew I didn't do drugs. Everyone knew I didn't drink to excess and party all night long. I was an honours student. Class president. School vice-president. Editor of the newspaper and the yearbook. I didn't have time for drugs, plus, I was terrified of losing control of my mind. Terrified that if I tried marijuana or LSD, I'd never be the same. I wasn't exactly sure who I was, but I knew I'd never find my true self from beneath the haze of a drug-induced state.

The course was run by the American schools in Europe. About 30 teachers and students from both the Canadian and American forces schools gathered to learn more about themselves and about how they interacted with others in order to find ways to help other students deal with their issues, particularly around drugs. The session was held at a monastery near Cologne. The large facility was situated along the Rhine, amidst acres of trees and grasses. It was hundreds of years old, its massive stone enclosure having withstood time and armies and man's incursions.

There's lots I've forgotten about that week, and some things I have never let go of. I remember walking from my dormitory to the main hall in the morning. Mist rose from the river, the quiet, still air was sweet with honeysuckle and roses. From the chapel the voices of monks chanting rose into the air, enveloping me in a gentle musical cloak of serenity and peace. It was my first encounter with Gregorian chant, and one I still cherish today.

In one of the sessions we were each asked to describe ourselves and then everyone in the group told you what they chose for you -- If you were a car, what car would you be? If you were an animal, what animal would you be? If you were a flower, what flower would you be?

I chose the daisy for my flower. I love their sunny little faces. Their free spirited wildflower dance beneath the sun.

Everyone in the group chose a red rose for me. I loved the idea of being elegant like a rose, velvety, mysterious, sensual. I didn't like the idea of the prickles. I wanted to be approachable. Huggable. Touchable. Irealized it was up to me to make choices that ensured I became who I am, not who others thought I should be.

Some of my choices have not appeared to be wise. In fact, some of them were downright ridiculous! But, they were my choices. Mine to live with. Mine to deal with. Mine to face the consequences. In dealing with my choices I have grown. Sometimes, I've fallen down. Sometimes, I've learned to fly. The choice has been mine.

In life, we are constantly presented choices that would lure us into different directions, entice us into changing course, seduce us into changing colours. The option is ours whether we make choices that support us on our journey, keep us focused on our path or draw us into someone else's course.

For me, I was often a passive observer in my own life, making choices that drew me from my course. Often, because I did not have a clear direction, the choices I didn't make had more impact than the one's I did make. As a passive observer, I let myself be swayed from standing true to me, myself and I. I let myself go and rather than hold onto my values, beliefs, principles, I let my hungry heart and aching arms lead me into the belief that someone else could ease the ache. Someone else could make me happy. As I leaned into someone else's story, I chose to let go of myself and lost my way.

In my life, I have often chosen a course not because it took me towards my goals and dreams, but rather because it took me towards a man. In my choices to find my happiness in someone else, I let go of my truth -- no one else can fill my hungry heart's yearnings for love. Only I can complete me.

When I was a teenager I chose never to do drugs. Fear motivated me. Courage drew me forward, kept me on my path of sobriety.

When I was a teenager, I wanted to be like the daisy. Sunny. Happy. Spirited.

As an adult, I choose the ubiquitous dandelion. Tenacious. Determined. Deep rooted. Enduring. The dandelion doesn't care what others think. It doesn't care what people do to root it out. It keeps on blooming. It keeps on growing and thriving in spite of all our efforts to kill it. The dandelion knows who it is. It knows its strengths. It knows its purpose. The dandelion stays true to its roots, bedded deep beneath the soil. The dandelion doesn't compromise on itself.

Today, I know who I am. I know what I want in my life. No longer a passive observer, I choose to actively engage in my life. To eagerly leap into each moment, looking for landmines to step on so that I can explode misconceived notions about who I am supposed to be as I become all that I am meant to be.

Determined. Tenacious. Vibrant and free.

May your day be filled with the dandelion spirit encouraging you to choose fearlessly what you need to do to create the best day of your life today.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I cannot heal or change what I do not acknowledge.

Morning breaks and with it a new day rises. Somewhere in the city, a man wanders the streets, looking for breakfast. Alcohol soaks up what little memory he has of his night wanderings. It permeates his skin, clouds his vision, rises in foggy dampness from his clothing. He searches for answers and comes up dry, with anger, fear, confusion. Where am I? How did I get here? Somebody make it stop.

Nothing happens. The world moves along and he stumbles down the road.

I cannot heal or change what I do not acknowledge.

When I was clutched in the death throes of an abusive relationship, I wanted it to stop. Silently I would sit in the seemingly safe, dark quarters of a closet and pray that somebody would make it stop. Make the craziness, the fear, the pain. Make his lies go away. Make him go away. Make me stop thinking, feeling, seeing, knowing. Somebody please make it stop.

Nobody else could make it stop for me. I needed to come out of the closet of my fear and speak up for myself. I was too frightened, too lost to make different choices and so I sank.

I cannot heal or change what I do not acknowledge.

Everyday I have a chance to change. I have the opportunity to take a step towards my goals or away from them. I have the opportunity to leap into the unknown, to soar above the mundane, to swim against the current of lassitude into the open waters of freedom.

It's up to me.

When I am busily stringing myself along, not doing what I need to do to take me closer to my goals, I am willfully taking steps away from what I say I want.

Sure, I can appear to be busy. I can appear to be involved in 'other things'. I can appear to be 'doing' what I need to do to be getting on with my life.

If I am not, however, working towards my goals, spending the time every day that I committed to get something done, doing at least one thing everyday that will bring me closer to achieving my goals, then I am taking steps in the opposite direction.

It's up to me. It's my choice.

I've been coasting. I haven't been spending time everyday working on my book. It's up to me to get on track. To stop my slide further.

With every step I take away from my goals, I put greater distance between me and the habit of achieving one thing everyday that will bring me closer to what I want. As the distance grows, my habit of doing one thing every day, weakens.

Today, I reverse direction. I stop. Make a different choice and turn around.

In acknowledging where I've been going, I acknowledge what I need to change to get to where I want to go.

Today, I turn around and take a step towards my goal. Today, I commit to building-up my muscle memory. today I commit to stepping successfully towards my goals and turn my back on things that take me further from where I want to go.

Today, I commit myself to being all that I am meant to be. Today I commit to being the best me I can be.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The past retreats and the sun shines on.

He was short and swarthy. It was a hot day but he wore a jacket over his plaid shirt. His jeans were well-worn, his running shoes scuffed. He was an angry man searching for a target. Searching for a way to let his anger out.

We were two women. Some would say past our prime. I would say entering it. Stampede Volunteers. We were parking cars in the Centre's parking lot to raise money for a charity. We didn't want to be targets. But there he was, coming towards us, full steam, words and venom spurting from his mouth with the fiery exhaust of lava bursting from a volcano. Standing in a vacant spot between two cars, a brick wall behind us, there was no where for us to go.

"What kind of f***ing church is this that can't even give a hungry man a piece of bread?" He yelled, his arms gesticulating wildly, his alcohol doused breath enveloping us in its sweet sickly scent.

At first, I didn't understand what he was saying. He had appeared quickly. I had been exiting the building and he had hurried over to my co-volunteer. I quickly lessened the distance between the three of us as he began to rant in her face. My girlfriend tried to explain we weren't a ' church per se' but, caught in the trap of his confused thinking, he couldn't hear what we were saying.

We hadn't seem him at the front door of the Centre, pleading for food over the intercom, speaking to the faceless voice behind the door. He'd given the door one good kick and then darted across the parking lot towards the street, but when he saw us, he veered off course to accost us with his anger.

His expletives burned the already heated air to scorching. He raised his fist. Shook it in front of our faces. He had questions. Angry. Fear-riddled questions. We had no answers for him other than to ask him to move on. To ask for food at one of the many pancake breakfasts taking place that morning. I suggested he visit the Drop-In where I work. "You'll find a good hot meal there," I told him.

He told me to go to the shelter myself. He wasn't stepping foot in a place 'like that'. I didn't tell him I worked there. I didn't want to engage him in conversation. I wanted him to leave. He was scaring us. He needed to go.

Behind my back, my hand searched surreptitiously for my cellphone in my pocket. I wondered if I could press 9-1-1 without him noticing. On the street a short distance away, people walked purposefully towards the Stampede grounds a few blocks away. The sun shone. A large man walked by with his girlfriend. He glanced at us. I didn't want him to come over. I didn't want the situation to escalate. The man kept walking.

The angry man's dark eyes peered helplessly out from behind the veil of alcohol clouding his vision. He stared at me. He stared at the woman beside me. He peeled back his lips, bared his teeth. His body went rigid. His left arm lifted up, he held it high. I stayed silent. He glanced at the silver star on my cowboy hat. "You think you're an f'ing sheriff." he sputtered. "I was a vet. I've killed men. Bet you don't even know where Viet Nam is." I repeated my request for him to move. "Do you even care?" He bounced towards me, shaking his fist. "You need to go now," I repeated looking steadily into his eyes. And then, suddenly, like a balloon deflating, he dropped his arm, his shoulders drooped and he walked away, down the street in search of food, another drink, another avenue of escape.

In the aftermath of his passing, I stood shaking. Tears formed in my eyes. My breath was short. My heart raced. My girlfriend laughed and said, "He didn't bother me. I was ready for him. I had my moves set in my mind if he advanced any closer."

I believe her. Her husband is an ex-police officer. He teaches self-protection courses, had even taught my daughters and I when the man who had once abused me was scheduled to be released on parole. At the Drop-In this kind of behaviour is not out of the norm. I take it in my stride. But, out there, on the street, exposed, I felt vulnerable. Helpless. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to do. I wanted him to leave. I couldn't find the words to reach him. I couldn't find the answers that would appease his irrational anger. I couldn't sober him up.

He left and behind him the frothing wake of his anger coursed through my day.

I knew my discord was not all to do with him. I knew he wasn't the cause of my disquiet. I'd known a man who raised his fist and angrily bared his teeth and screamed into my face. "It's all your fault," he'd yelled. "Because of you my life has been torn apart."

Back then, I knew the truth and fell into the lie. I believed him instead of listening to myself. I accepted it was all my fault.

I knew the man yesterday was not homeless because of me. I knew I was not the cause of his anger. But for one brief moment I felt the fissure of fear, the disquiet of the past disturbing my peace of mind.

I took a breath. That was then. This is now.

I cannot awaken the spirit of someone who has drowned his soul in alcohol. I cannot connect with words, or gestures. All I can do is stand my ground. Stand in my light and push back the shadows creeping in upon memory of a man who raised his fist and yelled.

The man is gone. The memories subside and I am reminded once again of the beauty of my truth today. This is my one and only life. My one and only opportunity to live this day for all its worth. To be all that I'm meant to be. To experience all the day holds. To uncover the hidden treasures waiting to be revealed in every moment. This is my life and I'm worth living it up with gusto!

The past retreats and I step into the brilliant light of this moment.

I am free.