Love Letter ~ Growth Opportunities

Dear beautiful souls,

Going through challenging or confusing things in our lives is a lot like being caught up in the vortex of a tornado while in the midst of the situation. One of the most important things to remember when we’re in the process of learning a lesson or experiencing a growing pain is to permit ourselves to feel what we feel. Squashing our feelings is so common for many of us, especially those who were taught early on that expression of feelings is a negative thing.

Eventually, most of us learn that feeling is better than squashing. It can just take us a while to trust that part of ourselves.  As a dear friend stated just today…feeling our feelings…even the negative ones, is a good thing. She also pointed out that we need  to remember to transform it at some point into a positive. Her point was timely and well absorbed. Hence, the lesson is received. Finding the balance between reaction and flowing into the growth can be difficult for most of us. Try not to be too hard on yourself while finding your way.

Not only is it important to take it easy on ourselves, we need to be mindful of the outside influences which we are permitting to impact our journey. When going through periods of transformation, it is natural for the order in our lives to become shaken up for a while. This is another element of the lesson or growth opportunity. Through our largest periods of growth and learning, there are bound to be some emotions lurking beneath the surface, waiting to rear their heads. Relationships may come and go, jobs or careers might change, sometimes even entire belief systems undergo an overhaul.

This is not work for the faint of heart my lovelies, but it is well worth it. Walking the path to wisdom is a lot like trying to tame a horse…there’s going to be a good bit of bucking along the way…both from within and without. Hold on tight and ride, until the stuff which isn’t serving your highest good is left in the dust. All of the madness will eventually lead to ever higher levels of love and understanding. Don’t give up now. Hold on to your heart and dive in. Just don’t forget to infuse a little levity along the way.

Much love,

Tracy

 

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Love Letter ~ Do Unto Yourself As You Would Do Unto Others

Dear beautiful souls,

How many times have you heard the old adage to do unto others as you would have them do unto you? Probably more than you can shake a stick at, just as I have. I’ve come to realize that something important has been left out when it comes to this notion, which is the title of this post.

Have you ever thought about how much easier it would be to treat others kindly, if we were to begin with being kind to ourselves? Many of us are much more harsh with ourselves than we would ever dream of being with someone else. Now, before you go pointing the finger of blame at yourself for being guilty of that…stop. That’s what this post is all about.

The way that we think about and treat ourselves directly impacts how we treat and react to others. This is beside the point though, because this post is about us personally. Many of us were taught that it is selfish to think of ourselves and/or to live our lives through a lens of how our words and actions make other people feel. While it is important that we not go around with no regard to others at all, to imply that we are way less important than others is a recipe for a lot of heartache.

If only for a few weeks, please try something for me. Next time you find yourself downgrading yourself, reframe it somehow. If there’s something that you’re less than pleased with, instead of beating yourself up about it, ask how you can proactively begin changing it. Next time you judge yourself harshly for something that you have or haven’t said or done, instead of allowing those thoughts to snowball into excessive guilt and negativity, love yourself…imperfections and all…with an awareness of how it is that you can conduct yourself to maximize your happiness and satisfaction.

When we learn how to treat ourselves, so many other pieces of the puzzle automatically click into place. Remember to take things easy. It isn’t like any of us got the way that we are overnight. As time goes by, you may even realize that some of the things which you were taught were negatives about yourselves are anything but. Step by step, with patience and gentleness, you can find a balance in kindness which is for your highest good.

I’d love to hear a little about your own journeys on the road to treating yourselves with the same dignity and respect as you afford others.

Much love,

Tracy

The Next Chapter

September has been flying by. I’ve been writing and sketching the month away. While the schedule has been a bit grueling, it has been a lot of fun. Last year, I was pretty non-involved in the annual October-long horror blog which my dear friend and I began years ago, due to the illness and passing of my father. Admittedly, I retreated from life for a while. She was kind enough to fill in the gaps for me, and I’m thankful. Fortunately, I can report that I am doing much better than I was at this time last year.

Writing scary or creepy stuff is so much fun for me, that I wasn’t about to let another year go by without diving in all the way. A good bit of the month of October is going to be otherwise busy around here, so I’ve doubled my efforts, and in addition to the content that I post here,  I’ve been channeling my inner psycho and writing ahead for Sisters In The Shadows. Granted I’d have been juggling both sites in October too. I just wouldn’t have had to be quite so regimented in my writing schedule. It’s coming along very well, and I’m really looking forward to my October, both in the online and real worlds.

Of course, those of you who have been following along have been seeing my 29 Faces fun which I’ve been posting each Wednesday and Thursday throughout September. While I’m about ready for that particular challenge to be over, I have had the realization that this is going to open up two days on the blog which I’m going to need to figure out how to fill. In my mad dash to keep caught up with all of my projects this month, it didn’t even enter my mind to think of something to take the place of 29 Faces. Thankfully I’ve got about two weeks to figure that out, but I admit that panic is setting in slightly.

While I realize that I have no one to answer to but myself, I have set the goal of posting something here five days per week. I’d like to keep to keep that goal. So, over the next week I’ll be brainstorming to come up with something to fill the gap and getting to work on it, as I won’t have the time to sit and write as much as usual for a good part of next month.

As if all of this weren’t enough, I’ve decided to partake in NaNoWriMo again this year. Since I finished my novel, “Twisted Faith”, few months ago, I’ve had ideas bouncing around in my head for a sequel. What better time to kick it all off than National Novel Writing Month, which is in November? This will make the third time which I’ve taken up the challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I’m looking forward to beginning the second installment of the series.

Now, I’d like to ask for your input. How do all of you feel about short stories…and by that I mean flash fiction? I’d like to do a bit more of that here, but wish to keep it on the brief side for both your sake and mine. Please take a moment to comment and let me know what you think.

Thank you for sticking around as I follow my muse…wherever it chooses to lead…you never know what will pop up around here. Neither do I. What fun!

 

Simplicity

The older I get, the more I appreciate simplicity. The passage of time has provided deeper insight into how the simplicity which I longed for in the past wasn’t something for me to wait for-it’s something for me to reach out and take hold of-both within and outside of myself. Just to be clear, when I use the word simplicity, it isn’t meant to imply a lack of excitement or an abundance of dullness. Nope. Not for this girl. Laughter, play, and enjoyment are as necessary to me as a tall glass of water on a hot summer day.

I use the word simplicity to indicate a sense of ease, a lack of unnecessary complications, or a smooth flow. There are so many ways in which we can either complicate our lives for ourselves or allow others to do so. There are a lot of things which can seem complicated while in the midst of them which truly aren’t. No matter what we’re talking about, whether relationships (of any sort), career choices, health factors which are in our control, or just life in general-simplifying all things is fairly the same. It all starts with asking ourselves some easy questions which can be difficult to answer due to several factors. These factors usually boil down to a few simple sentiments-what we think we want, fear of change, seeing sometimes necessary work as too difficult, or a combination of any or all of the above.

There are all sorts of questions which we could ask ourselves when it comes to making our lives more simple. We can figure out most situations with the one question below.

Does (insert situation or relationship here) primarily enrich my life or create stress and unhappiness?

No matter which way we slice it, we are only in control of making changes in ourselves. So, if whatever it is which we are asking this question about creates more stress and unhappiness than the good that it brings to the table-the choices are to make up our mind to accept it as it is and adjust our lives and mindset accordingly, or to make the changes that we need in order to move from stress to ease.

Of course, this is usually a process and it isn’t my intention to imply that we can just snap our fingers and jump right in or out of anything. There is though, a line which can be drawn where lack of action becomes the choice which a person makes. After a while, the sorting and decision process ends and we’ve either improved our situation or we find ourselves in a loop. Not only are these loops unhealthy for us, there comes a time in which it becomes inconsiderate to continue to expect our loved ones to stay in the loop with us. If we find ourselves circling, the best course of action is to seek out professional/impartial assistance in gathering what we need in order to get out of it. Sometimes, we may even need to withdraw a little from our social circles in order to remove the temptation or habit of remaining stuck. Some things can only be handled by ourselves.

When there is someone in our life who is living the same pattern over and over, we have to understand that after a certain early point of support and advice-there is nothing that we can do which will break this loop for them. Not only do we do them a disservice by going around and around the same issues, we are not doing ourselves any favors either. We’ve all been there at one point or another to some extent.

It’s a normal part of life to go through this learning process. What simplicity looks like is different for each of us. For me, it is a life in which things flow naturally without bullying, disrespect, or undue pressure to conform. It may be something completely different for someone else and neither definition is wrong. The only thing which is our business is when the ways of another are so different from ours that it creates stress or incompatibility. Then, it isn’t our place to change their mind. Nor is it our place to “love them enough” to keep taking their shit, or keep having the same argument, or have to keep defending ourselves. At that point, we may need to decide to love them and ourselves enough to draw boundaries, and sometimes that might mean that we have to step away in order to maintain our peace and health. There’s nothing to be gained in judging ourselves for how we’ve fared with any of our success with simplifying our lives in the past. The space in which we can work is the one where are at this very moment.

As some of you who have been coming here for a while know, I do love Buddhist quotes and the one below feels like the perfect ending.

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. ~ Buddha
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/b/buddha.html

 

 

 

 

 

Choice

I was falling short of inspiration for today’s post, so I went on Pinterest, scouring for journaling prompts. Some of the most amazing ones that I found all came from the same site, Journaling Sage. It was difficult to pick one, because there are so many great ones on the site. The one that I finally selected was:

What choice can you make today to be more free?

This question is perfect for me right now. The feeling of freedom is something which I’ve been reaching out for more and more. I’ve been making a lot of choices in the name of freedom this year. Some of them haven’t been the easiest to do, yet all of them have been necessary in one way or another.

For today however, I’m choosing the freedom to choose. I choose to give myself permission to feel what I feel, to do what feeds the higher parts of myself, to stand tall in my right to not only give respect but to receive it, and to release guilt associated with doing what’s best or necessary for me even when it means saying no.

This may seem elementary to some of you, but for others of us it isn’t always so simple. When wading through these waters, there is a lot of self discovery which takes place. With some much appreciated help, I recently discovered that somewhere along the way I had given away some of my power in the area of how I permit others to treat and speak to me. While I know exactly where this loss occurred, there is no need to share that here because to do so would only serve to give a negative impression of people from the fairly distant past. Doing that is something which I do not desire to do, nor is it my job. They do/have done a fine enough job of that on their own.

Sometimes it is difficult to get to the bottom of our needs. I am always grateful when I am able to recognize areas of my life which need some adjustment in order for me to be lighter and happier. The choice has been made, and I feel better already just for being able to see what had been going on and knowing that it is perfectly within my power to change it. That’s one of the many beautiful things about life…that we always have a choice.

What choice will you make today?

 

 

 

Bonus Post ~ Letter To My Younger Self

Yesterday, Miriam’s Well published a letter to my you younger self that I had sent in response to a call for submissions. Many of us have wished that our present day selves could go and have a chat with our younger selves about life. Sitting down to write this letter was a very healing experience. I highly recommend that some of you give it a try sometime.

To read the letter, please click here. Sure I could post it here, but I’d really like Miriam’s Well to get the traffic for being so kind as to publish my letter. Feel free to come back here to comment. ❤

Dignity

For the purposes of this post, I am only using a few of the possible meanings of the title word of this post. To see the entire definition of the word, please click below: Dictionary.com

noun, plural dignities.
1.

bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation.
2.

nobility or elevation of character; worthiness:

dignity of sentiments.

Dignity is one of those things which many of use do not give a whole lot of thought to for at least part of our lives. Either we do not think about it, or we hadn’t been taught the value of it. The hope is that at some point that we figure out how valuable it is, and how to restore it. We’ve all done things in our lives which may not have been in line with a sense of dignity. However, all things have the potential to lead us there.

The reason for that last line is that it would be very easy to feel so ashamed of things in the past that it feels as though we are not worthy of self-respect or a sense of dignity. Trust me, I get that. I also know that it is never too late. When we start putting the pieces of ourselves back together, all things are possible.

Perhaps we were taught or told as children that we weren’t worth much and we went through our lives believing this to one extent or another. That one is a tough nut to crack, yet with time and repetition, we can turn the volume of those ancient voices down or even hit the mute button. Once we realize that those negative messages were less about us and more about the person who planted them, it becomes simpler to let it all fade into the background. While working through all of that, it is key that we do not allow that realization to turn into anger, because that is not productive. Not only that, but we can turn it around and use those experiences to learn how to do better by ourselves and perhaps help others to do the same.

 Please try to remember that a desire to help others does not make their actions, or acceptance of the advice or example your responsibility. A few days ago, I read something to the effect of ‘caring is not the same as carrying’. I’m sure that it wasn’t worded exactly like that, and I do not remember where I read it, but the sentiment is one which automatically stuck with me.

Often, we can trace many of the things we’ve done of which we aren’t proud back to negative programming or events in our earlier years. This doesn’t give us a pass, but it does help us to understand the origins of our feelings and do something to avoid taking similar actions in the future. We should also be a little gentler on ourselves, or less harsh in our self judgements. Why? Because deeply holding onto guilt or shame over past actions or words does not propel us forward into reclaiming our dignity.

So how to we get to that place? Through a process of realizing the untruth in the old beliefs and messages which led to the loss or dimming of our dignity, and making a conscious decision to uncover who we really are. There may be things we’ve done for which there will always be a sense of shame. This doesn’t mean that there is no redemption, or that we are not worthy of having a better life.  Even though we cannot undo or unsay things, we can absolutely give ourselves permission to rise above them from here on out.