Inspiration

Valentine’s Day For Those Without a Valentine….

Love isn’t yours…it belongs to the world.  This came to me in my meditation this morning, on Valentine’s Day.  I have never been a fan of Valentine’s Day, probably because I never seem to have one.  But what if love doesn’t really belong to you.  What if it belongs to all of us.  What if love isn’t solely meant to be shared between two individuals, what if it’s meant to be shared with all of us.  What if your acts of love, your ways of showing love to your Valentine on this day, opens me to love, makes me feel love.  What if every act of love every moment of love, heals us all…creates a ripple of love waves that can’t help but touch each of us.  What if this day isn’t really about having a special someone…that one person you share love with on this day.  What if this day is about each of us simply being love.  Of showing up and giving love in all the places, in all the corners of our lives.  Giving love in each moment, to all the people in our lives.  What if our love was intended for all people everywhere.

So on this day of flowers, chocolates and Hallmark Valentine’s Day cards…none of which I will be receiving…I am simply going to show up in love. Be love. Not see love as something I am missing on this day meant for two, but as something that I have in so many beautiful forms, which surrounds each of us. That your love is my love, it’s our love…the world’s love.  That love is love in whatever form it takes.

Today I am going to see the beautiful acts of love spilling over in the world…and on social media…as rays of sunshine we can all bask in.  How does looking at Valentine’s Day from this way change your perception?  Does it make you less likely to lay low and wish for the day to be over, if you don’t have that special someone?  Does it make you realize that loving who you are, where you are, what you do and how you do it…is the kind of love we can all share on Valentine’s Day?  Does it make you want to start a love revolution, where the entire world is your Valentine?  Love is truly all around us…especially on this special day…Happy Valentine’s Day!

A Different Example of Love…

A poem I wrote about my divorce that was published on Elephant Journal.

A Different Example of Love. 

How do you know when it’s over.

When it’s done.

When you can no longer pretend.

No longer will your feelings to change.

When your desire for love, life, passion

Are stronger than words uttered in a commitment long ago.

Life changes. Feelings change.

Passion waxes and wanes.

Children change everything, they say.

But what if those words come from fear.

A place of settling.

Afraid to face the desires stirring in your heart.

So you go through the motions.

Convince yourself it will be fine.

Try to behave your way back to love.

While all the while your heart is breaking.

Breaking that the feelings aren’t changing.

The love isn’t growing, it’s dying still.

And you die too.

Each day you swallow your desires for peace.

Put on the smile and pretend it’s fine.

When you betray your soul

Out of fear for what might come.

Fear at the changes, the heartbreak, the judgment, the unknown.

The example set for the children.

People always come back to the children – what is best for them.

A family – strong, staying together, working things through.

But what if working things through means you lose yourself.

You sacrifice yourself for some greater good.

Until you don’t remember who you are.

You’ve forgotten.

You become the shell of the person you’d hoped to be.

Settling for less than you dreamed of.

Not able to show them what real love looks like.

The small moments of connection

In glances shared, quiet laughter,

Gentle touches in the actions of the day.

Instead you teach them love means solitude and distance,

Unspoken resentment, only connecting over things to do with them.

And you begin to wonder when you will be brave enough – if you will be brave enough,

To want more for them – for you.

To want a life of joy, love, connection and desires fulfilled.

To show them things can change.

That change isn’t always bad.

The heartache involved is a different kind.

An open ache you name and discuss,

Which eventually opens your heart wider, and truer, and deeper.

You realize you all will survive.

You will laugh once more, and love again.

You realize that believing in love might not mean staying.

Leaving can also mean you believe.

Believe in a different example of love.

She was done….

I wrote this post in 2015, and submitted it to Elephant Journal for publication. I had no idea how much it would resonate with others.  It’s been viewed over 800,000 times and shared another 500,000 across social media platforms. I feel grateful and humbled to know that others share similar challenges and feelings about life.  The kind messages, emails and comments I have received from readers have touched me more than I could have imagined.  So this one goes down in my book as technology having a positive, encouraging impact on a new writer trying to share her truth and experience.  Thank you.

 

She Was Done.

She was done not fully being herself. She realized she was the only self she could be—and not being unapologetically true to herself was a disservice to her soul and the world.

She was done listening to the noise of the world. She realized the quiet voice of her own soul was the most beautiful sound.

She was done questioning her motives, her intentions, the call of her soul. She realized questions seek answers, and maybe she already knew the answers.

She was done striving, forcing, pushing through and staying on the hard path. She realized toughing things out might be a sign to pick another path.

She was done with friends that admonished her to be more light and breezy. She realized they didn’t understand she swam in the deep waters of life, she felt at home in their dark depths and died if she lived on the surface.

She was done with the distractions, the denials, the small addictions that pulled her away from the true desires of her soul. She realized that strength of character came from focus and commitment.

She was done not following the desires that yelled out in her soul every day. She realized if she did nothing about them, they died a quiet death that took a piece of her soul with them.

She was done with dinner parties and cocktail hours where conversations skimmed the surface of life. She realized the beverages created distortion and a temporary happiness that wasn’t real and disappeared in the light of the day.

She was done trying to please everyone. She realized it could never be done.

She was done questioning herself. She realized her heart knew the truth and she needed to
follow it.

She was done analyzing all the options, weighing the pros and cons and trying to figure everything out before leaping. She realized that taking a leap implied not fully seeing where she landed.

She was done battling with herself, trying to change who she knew herself to be. She realized the world made it hard enough to fully be herself, so why add to the challenge.

She was done worrying, as if worry was the price she had to pay to make it all turn out okay. She realized worry didn’t need to be part of the process.

She was done apologizing and playing small to make others feel comfortable and fit in. She realized fitting in was overrated and shining her light made others brave enough to do the same.

She was done with the should’s, ought to’s and have to’s of the world. She realized the only must’s in her life came from things that beat so strong in her soul, she couldn’t not do them.

She was done with remorse and could have’s. She realized hindsight never applies because circumstances always look different in the rearview mirror and you experience life looking through the front window.

She was done with friendships based on shared history and past experiences. She realized if friends couldn’t grow together, or were no longer following the same path, it was okay to let them go.

She was done trying to fit in—be part of the popular crowd. She realized the price she had to pay to be included was too high and betrayed her soul.

She was done not trusting. She realized she had placed her trust in people that were untrustworthy—so she would start with the person she could trust the most—herself.

She was done being tired. She realized it came from spending her time doing things that didn’t bring her joy or feed her soul.

She was done trying to figure it all out, know the answers, plan everything and see all the possibilities before she began. She realized life was unfolding and that the detours and unexpected moments were some of the best parts.

She was done needing to be understood by anyone but herself. She realized she was the only person she would spend her whole with and understanding herself was more important than being understood by others.

She was done looking for love. She realized loving and accepting herself was the best kind of love and the seed from which all other love started.

She was done fighting, trying to change or not her accepting her body. She realized the body she came into the world with was the only one she had—there were no exchanges or returns—so love and acceptance was the only way.

She was done being tuned in, connected and up-to-date all the time. She realized the news and noise of the world was always there—a cacophony that never slowed or fell quiet and that listening to the silence of her soul was a better station to tune into.

She was done beating herself up and being so hard on herself as if either of these things led to changes or made her feel better. She realized kindness and compassion towards herself and others accomplished more.

She was done comparing and looking at other people’s lives as a mirror for her own. She realized holding her own mirror cast her in the best, most beautiful light.

She was done being quiet, unemotional and holding her tongue. She realized her voice and her emotions could be traced back to her deepest desires and longings. if she only followed their thread.

She was done having to be right. She realized everyone’s truth was relative and personal to themselves, so the only right that was required was the one that felt true for her.

She was done not feeling at home in the world. She realized she might never feel at home in the world, but that feeling at home in her soul was enough.

She was done being drained by others—by people who didn’t want to take the time for their own process and saw shortcuts though hers. She realized she could share her experience, but everyone needed to do the work themselves.

She was done thinking she had so much to learn. She realized she already knew so much, if she only listened.

She was done trying to change others or make them see things. She realized she could only lead by example and whether they saw or followed was up to them.

She was done with the inner critic. She realized its voice was not her own.

She was done racing and being discontent with where she was. She realized the present moment held all it needed to get her to the next moment. It wasn’t out there—it was right here.

She was done seeing hurt as something to be avoided, foreseen or somehow her fault. She realized hurt shaped her as much as joy and she needed both to learn and grow.

She was done judging. She realized judging assumed the presence of right and wrong—and that there was a difference between using information to inform and making someone else wrong.

She was done jumping to conclusions. She realized she only needed to ask.

She was done with regrets. She realized if she had known better she would have done better.

She was done being angry. She realized anger was just a flashlight that showed her what she was most scared of and once it illuminated what she needed to see, she no longer needed to hold
on to it.

She was done being sad. She realized sorrow arose when she betrayed her own soul and made choices that weren’t true to herself.

She was done playing small. She realized if others couldn’t handle her light, it was because they were afraid of their own.

She was done with the facades and the pretending. She realized masks were suffocating and claustrophobic.

She was done with others’ criticism and complaints. She realized they told her nothing about herself—only informed her of their perspective.

She was done yelling above the noise of the world. She realized living out loud could be
done quietly.

She was done needing permission, validation or the authority. She realized she was her her
own authority.

She was done being something she was not. She realized the purpose of life was to be truly, happily who she was born to be…and if she paused long enough to remember, she recognized herself.

My Desires…

One of my favorite people is Danielle LaPorte.  I subscribe to her newsletter, take part in her women’s writing group, and have been to in person workshops. Her book, The Desire Map, is one of my all time favorites. She is a visionary who talks clear and straight, with compassion and kindness.  In one of her newsletters, she gave a writing exercise to complete.  The exercise consisted of writing what you wanted your life to feel like, using her prompts.  Here’s my answers…

I want my morning to feel like roses…fresh and fragrant, with the dew from the night before.
I want to ease into my day like cashmere. Transitioning from night to day quietly…softly…with a sense of honor and purpose of the day.  I want to feel where one day ends and the other begins…subtlety…no hard edges.
I want my body to feel strong and supple, to move with grace, and to feel like my own.  To feel connected and grounded to the earth, but light enough to reach the stars.
I want smiling to be like clementines, juice filled with the lingering scent of citrus.
I want kissing to taste like a blend of salty and sweet, to feel soft and hard, to leave a longing on my lips for more.
I want friendships to feel like the soft satin edges of a baby blanket that when wrapped around you gives a sense of love, safety and being held…tinged with a scent that’s a blend of fresh and familiar.
I want my mind to feel fluid and open.  At peace among all the thoughts and activities of the day. As if I were on the banks of a mighty river observing all that passes by.
I want my work to feel like a calling. Something I must get out of bed to do each day, because I can’t imagine not doing it.
I want my home to feel like a temple…a scared space for all who enter to feel love, warmth and a respite from the world.
I want my integrity to feel like the mountains…tall and solid…with a foundation built over years.
I want my money making to feel like play…a party that blesses the world, not just me.
I want my word to feel like a dove…peaceful, clear and light.
I want my laughter to feel like a mountain spring…bubbling from deep inside and watering the roots of those around me.
I want my end of the day to feel like enough.  A contentment with all that has been done…or not done.
I want my philanthropy to feel like an act of worship…a joyful service that honors all of humanity.
I want my ideas to feel like love letters, that my hands quiver with excitement to unfold and read.
I want my challenges to feel like deals and one of kind items, I secretly find.  A quiet blessing that only I have discovered and know what it goes with.
I want my next success to be bold and quiet at the same time.  I want it to be far reaching, thought provoking and soul opening.  But to do so without a loud entrance or “look at me” fanfare.
I want my love to feel like aspen trees…connected deeply at the root…intertwined and quaking with brazen joy at the breeze that blows through them.
I want my writing to feel like water, that flows and moves and winds its way through the world.  That carves pathways in even the hardest stone hearts, while soothing and quenching as it moves.  I want my words to be a blend of poetry, humor, humility and shared humanity – stories we all recognize.  I want to be a combination of Gabriel Garcia Marquez meets Elizabeth Gilbert on the way to tea with Rumi, Rilke and Hafiz.

Pause

My favorite word for 2015 (and beyond)…pause.  It’s a beautiful way to take a moment and be present.

Dance with me
in the infinite pause
before the next great inhale
that is breathing us all into being

– Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Dance