Moment by Moment…

Every day I look around me and people are zooming here, there, everywhere…yikes!! It is a busy little world for sure. Sometimes I feel like I am standing still and the populace is spinning me in circles as it marches to what comes next. In actuality the previous sentence is somewhat true, for I am one to stop and standstill, to take it all in, to breathe slowly in and out and then mosey to where I am supposed to be next. Life is a tenuous tight rope that we walk, often thinking that we have all this time to just keep doing, pretending that tomorrow we will take the time to really sit and be present with those we love…sadly tomorrow seems to rarely come for many.

This blog is a BIG in your face, in hopes that maybe just maybe you will remember that life is fleeting and there are no guarantees about tomorrow. The only real time you have is NOW, this now, then the next now and the next.., or more clearly stated, life is a tapestry created by our moments.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

How we “show up” in our moment directly impacts how we will experience the next moment and it also impacts the next moment of those you touch along the way. Our moment to moment interactions are not immune from the outside influences unless we begin to embrace the moments with understanding. What I experience most often is that people live life like a pinball game, bouncing off one interaction or event to another – never taking the time to truly be in the moment. At the end of the day we sit down and detach ourselves from all the moments experienced throughout the day by turning on the television, computer, or some other device that keeps us occupied.

Until one day one of those moments shocks you…maybe you lose your job, get in a car accident, get sick, lose a dear friend, or…!! Interesting how that moment becomes suspended in time, frozen in your memory, a slow motion video that replays. Now there are also those moments on the other side…you get a job promotion, you buy a new car, have a baby…!! Ahhh yes the pendulum of positive and negative. Again those moments stand still, suspended in a state of time irrelevant to the ticking clock.

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

The question I often ponder is why do we not embrace the more subtle moments with awe, gratitude, and present awareness? Why do we only impress upon our minds, hearts, and souls the big moments that cause pain or bring joy. What if those smaller quieter moments could become as intoxicating with joy and grace.

I remember reading a book shortly after I got divorced that had a profound effect upon how I embraced the “to do chore list” moments. In the book she made me aware of what an honor it was to fold my children’s clothes, prepare meals for those I cared about, shovel the snowy path, water the plants, etc… The day will come when I do not get to fold my children’s clothes, I will not get to feed the people who circle my life now, I will not have a path to shovel, or plants to care for…life is impermanent. To take these precious moments for granted is to wish for time to pass by before it’s fully ripe. The truth from the pages blasted me with such raw awareness!! As I digested the wisdom, I changed, never did I look at the laundry the same, the dishes, preparing a meal – the mundane chores of life took on a new brightness, presented a gift to be present and in gratitude.

Soon my son shall fly from the nest – no longer will I get to fold his clothes, cook his meals, or just enjoy his presence in the room. Moving has taken me away from preparing meals for the community that held us in their womb with love. Becoming a teenager has taken my daughter from my lap and gifted her with pursuits of her own. People I thought who would always be in my life having left this world. The only true reality we have is that life is impermanent and always changing…if we do not embrace our present moments with love, appreciation, recognition, and awareness they will slip by unnoticed in our aggression to DO life.

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are of course at chose, each of us having the opportunity to stop and notice, or run to what comes next without even blinking. I invite you to welcome the moments with awareness, I know it is extremely challenging to do it all the time, but I can honestly say there is wonder in most moments if we take the time to see, feel, and breathe.

In a few short days we will say goodbye to 2016 and welcome in a New Year – 2017!! A mere moment separates the two. My New Year’s wish for everyone is to embrace, cherish, and relish in all the moments you are graced to journey. May 2017 be a year of joy, courage, adventure, love and surrendered peace for you all!

BIG lesson from the gym!!

I love how life will hit us right between the eyes with a clear message, but only if we are truly listening and willing to receive. Every day since I lost my job, I have searched, reached, prayed, meditated, done anything and everything to face and deal with my fears, worries, and critical self judgments. Oh it is a fine dance that we have been taught the steps to since we took our first physical steps. This saddens me, for the young who feel hopeless about the world they are inheriting, for the elderly who have been left to rot in nursing homes (remember I worked in a nursing home, a day care, and taught junior high-so I do have some experience with diverse age groups), for the middle aged individual still trying to climb the ladder with no passion in their eyes, for the retired person who all of a sudden realizes they do not know who they are or what they like to do….We all sit at this precipice of  great unknown vastness.

Each day I have consciously chosen to look right in the eye of my fears, chewed on my sabotaging statements to self, and looked desperately out into the world for inspiration, for the energy of true grace to lift my wings for another day. I have incredible cheerleaders in my life – WOW…they humble me every day with their absolute faith in my ability to rise out of the muck to manifest my dreams. Their steadfast presence in my life keeps me stepping, I can’t let them down, I can’t let me down…I can’t give in to the fearful mediocrity that we are taught life is…I must soar into the potential of that which can be.

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.   ~T. S. Eliot

I set my alarm last night for 5:00am, this was sleeping in as those who know me are aware, sure beat the old 3:45am alarm. I didn’t have to get up, after all I had no job waiting for me, no kids to shuffle to school this week, nothing awaited me – except taking sincere action towards my dreams!! I awoke to the nagging fear of “what am I doing”? How can I take care of the kids and myself until the business sustains us? What am I going to do to get from point A to B…blah..blah..blah…screamed the voice in my head. My insides churned and my breath stopped in my chest, not a good sign. I laid there playing out all kinds of scenarios, you know how that goes, “if I do this, or this, or try this” – more than half the thoughts were negative self-sabotaging “mind – f**k” limiting statements. The other half was based on three words – COURAGE, RISK, and ACTION!!

It was time to just put one foot in front of the other. I climbed forth, donned my workout cloths and proceeded to enjoy my cup of tea and quiet journal time (a mainstay in my world for over 20 years) before hitting the workout world at the nearby gym.  I didn’t want to go, for doesn’t everyone see me as the jobless loser, isn’t it written on my forehead??? Thankfully my journal time helped me to purge the cruel negative thinking and move into a place of blind trust (even as I write those two words I chuckle inside, for most of the concrete thinkers in my world cringe at the pure paradox of those two words, screaming “get back to work girl”, “earn a pay check”, “you’re crazy”!!).

Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.           ~Ray Bradbury

I hit the treadmill thinking, “today I should do a full twenty minutes here, sweat, purge, and cleanse all the negative thoughts with each flapping step forward.” The treadmill is such a great metaphor for the life most of us accept and live, each day we go through the motions, hoping that the scenery will change, that a miracle will smack us upside the head, or someone will wake us up to be brave. Instead we watch the miles and years go by, the view stays the same and below our feet the black runway clicks around and around. The only change is the speed and incline we choose to set for ourselves.

As I booked along I looked at my reflection in the glass window, since it was still dark outside I could see myself very clearly. It is a great time for me to share positive thoughts internally, to build myself up, not tear myself down as I seemed to being doing so well lately. I looked down at the time, fifteen minutes; cool, only five minutes to go to the goal. At seventeen minutes I caught myself thinking, “Ahhh… I can slow it down and take the decline down, it doesn’t matter, no one else knows that I had a different goal.” OMGoodness!! There it was smack in my face, a sellout, a give up, a quit mentality!! The truth struck me to the core – The runner who gives up ten feet from the finish line, the swimmer who can see the shore but stops swimming, the mountaineer who gives up before he reaches the peak!! As I explored this Ah-Ha moment I thought about the people I admire and look to for inspiration, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Mandela, Lincoln, Edison, and then the more down to earth recent inspiring souls, Oprah, Barbara Streisand, Mastin Kipp, and….you get the point. They did not give up, they kept stepping even when it was really challenging, even when they weren’t sure they could survive.

I would not give up!! I would not stop!! The clock ticked, the black rubber spun beneath my feet, my breath sang with the rhythm of my steps – 20 minutes!! I made it with ease – but most importantly I did not sell myself out.

Learning is the beginning of wealth. Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins. The great breakthrough in your life comes when you realize it that you can learn anything you need to learn to accomplish any goal that you set for yourself. This means there are no limits on what you can be, have or do.                 ~Albert Einstein

As I moved to the weights to focus on biceps/triceps and forearms I smiled at the incredible message I was given. Yep, coming to the gym today was the first gift of the day. I stayed keenly aware of other times I was cutting myself short – “’s okay if I only do this many reps, it’s okay if I lower the weight, it’s okay if I don’t do that exercise…” WOW, humble wake up pie delivered in sweaty Technicolor!! This girl was not going to “play small”, “give up”, “sell out” – no way!! I am so grateful I got out of bed, put one foot in front of the other, made small goals at the gym which awakened me to how I often give up before I even see the finish line!!

It was time to go home, breathe into my courage, and take at least one risky step towards a new tomorrow. Action, Courage, Risk!!

Our life is composed greatly from dreams, from the unconscious, and they must be brought into connection with action. They must be woven together. ~Anais Nin

Take a peak – look sincerely into your life, where do you sell yourself short.

*Do you sneak food hoping that no one is looking?

*Do you really want to tell your partner/children that you love them, but fear keeps it inside?

*Do you start out on a workout plan, only to come up with excuses of why you can’t do it?

*Do you feel sick, tired, unhappy…, and instead of working towards change, you accept and give up?

*Do you pour another glass of wine/beer/alcohol thinking no one can see?

*Do you have a dream that sits in your heart/soul waiting for you to manifest – yet you keep burying it waiting for tomorrow?

Mirror, Mirror…

Mirrors are funny things when you really think about them. A reflection tool that has become the most critical space in our homes, work place, stores, everywhere we go. How often when you look in the mirror do you say something positive? When have you actually looked in the mirror to compliment yourself, and genuinely explore beyond the image into the truth behind the surface? Have you ever even thought about the impact of your mirror in your life? Can you spend a day without looking in one? An hour?

Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Believe me, I am very human in this experience too – I look in the mirror and criticize the body I see, notice there are more grey hairs, wrinkles, and…. I try to catch myself and shift this harmful self judgment, this unkind comparison to what “society” deems as perfect and beautiful. I remember asking my students once, “Who defines perfection?” They looked at me baffled at first and then we undertook a conversation about society, the media, and all the places they are hit with “perfectionism gauges”.  I inquired, “Why do we buy in? Why do we agree with this image of  perfection? Why do we give it power?” Well now, that opened up a whole other can of worms that led to a powerful sharing about being bullied, feeling never enough, not eating, and the list goes on…. Image is one of the most crippling impacts on our society today. Expectations and judgments bombard us from every direction!!

Recently I stayed at a yurt all by myself for a few days. It was a time for me to heal, contemplate, explore, and to sit quietly with myself. Each day I went for a long walk, the wind would wake up my skin with its crisp fingers, my hair swirled with freedom, and I felt the natural flow of my body as I stepped in the sand along the lakeshore. I caught myself feeling beautiful, feeling vibrant, alive, connected to everything around me. I allowed myself to explore the sensation, “Was I beautiful in that moment? Did I look pretty, in the cold grey windy day?” I had no mirror to view myself in, no comparison to judge myself against – just the pure sensation from within that I was a wonderful beautiful being. Hmmm…why do we give that feeling away? Deny it? Self judge and criticize?

Have you ever watched a child in the pureness of being? In my young years I worked in an International Daycare while going to college. I loved watching the diversity of young faces all around me – they would laugh, sing, dance, play, and be in absolute presence. They did not worry about their looks, how they compared to another, or if they were doing it right. Only if a teacher or caregiver commented did they judge or think about their actions/image. Why do we let go of this care-free vibrant truthful way of being? Yep, that circles back to the conversation with my junior high students – the societal “teachings”. Fear of judgment and not fitting in.

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” ― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Years ago when I worked one on one with people to explore their relationship with food, it always circled around to how they viewed themselves – fat, skinny, old, young, not attractive, not good enough, and the list goes on… I began a practice with these people, where every night they were to look in the mirror, seriously look in the mirror – make eye contact with the image, with themselves. They were to stand there and take a few deep breaths, reflect on the day, and then share into the eyes/image before them all the amazing ways they showed up that day. They were to share at least three, more was great!! Then after a couple more breaths, they were to share from a loving place at least three things they loved, valued, and honored about themselves. This was a very uncomfortable practice for most people. Yet in time it shifted how they saw themselves, they began to be kinder to themselves, and to recognize all the ways they showed up every day in a caring loving capacity. This practice was not about the ego, it was not to puff up the muscles, or improve the makeup – it was to remove the masks and really see within. As we expand in self love we open to loving everyone and everything more…it is a glorious ripple effect.

I invite you to really look in the mirror. What are the truths there? How do you treat that person you see? What do you tell that image? Is that what you would want your children to say to themselves? Is the judgment you bestow upon your image what you want your spouse to do, your friend, your…??? Then why do you practice such behavior upon  yourself?

“If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were? What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask… with nothing beneath it?” ― Jodi Picoult

Feeling attractive, desired, loved, happy, and wanted comes from within us – it is our natural state if we allow ourselves to feel it. As I walked along the beach my truth bubbled up, I am beautiful from the inside out, I am a good person, I am a loving, compassionate being who loves to dance, sing, play and be… “Mirror mirror on the wall look at all these amazing beings!”

The Stories we write.., in our heads!

Almost twenty years ago my sister graced me with a book that would change the way I interact with the world around me – “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. This incredibly short profound book opened my eyes to the ways we sabotage ourselves every day. I read it, then re-read it, and continue to open its worn pages to again digest its wisdom.

I’m a Buddhist, so one of my biggest beliefs is, ‘Everything changes, don’t take it personally. ~Alan Ball

Today I am only going to chat about one of the four agreements, this is a bit challenging for they are all intertwined with one another – however in my life experience this one is such a main root cause to so much pain and misunderstanding. The Four Agreements are as follows:

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions
  4. Always Do Your Best

If I was still teaching junior high language arts, this book would be a part of the curriculum every year, for once you embrace these teachings as a way of life, so much grief and relationship drama is completely avoided.

Today I want to talk about the second agreement – “Don’t take anything personally” – whew is this a huge monster in the room and not just in our close relationships, watch a political debate, or observe your next business meeting, or family gathering, you get the idea; not a day goes by that I do not observe or hear this happening between people.

Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering. Don Miguel Ruiz

A recent personal example that I can share is on a previous blog my opening paragraph states – “Was it written on my forehead? Could everyone see the truth? Was I bad person? Had I failed again? How do I tell my kids? My friends? My Family? Ugh…especially the latter group, for I had always been the misfit here, the “black sheep” who could “not succeed”. The last line is in reference to me telling my family that I had lost my job “again”. As a daughter and sibling I was choosing to take personal the compassionate and caring comments of my family, writing my own story about their worried helpful ways. It was/is a story that stems from my own self-talk – “I am not a success like my brother, dad, sisters? I can’t keep a long term job like everyone else in my family. I am a failure financially because I just cannot play the societal game….” Blah..Blah..Blah…!!

No one in my family has ever said those words; they are my interpretation of their actions and caring comments. I selected to take things personal and thus write my own self-beat-up stories!! Have any of you done that? In true reality my family has always loved me, stuck by me, helped me and been there for me. I am different from my family members, I always have been – what drives me and fuels my flames of passion, creativity, and pursuit of happiness is not in line with theirs, that is totally okay and a good thing, yet for years I have chosen to let it be a barrier, a line that separates me from them. In humble vulnerable honesty this is a story I get to let go of and choose to not take personal. Opening to this change will allow me to pull down the wall to just be with, to love without expectation or attachment. Now, since it has been a story for so long, it is likely going to be a conscious process to not take things personal and thus to not make assumptions (#3) about what they mean when they share and ask me personal questions.

My first book, ‘Radical Acceptance’, grew out of the suffering of feeling personally deficient and unworthy. Because most of us are so quick to turn against ourselves, the teachings and practices of radical acceptance continue as a strong current in ‘True Refuge’: nurturing a forgiving, understanding heart is a basic step on the path.  ~Tara Brach

We take things personal in every arena of our lives. Think about it! When your partner/lover says they cannot go out to dinner with you tonight, do you hear “oh, they don’t want to spend time with me”? Or your kids say they do not like the meal you prepared; do you say to yourself, “I’m just a horrible cook”? At the last business meeting did your boss say something that made you react, chances are if you reacted then there was a “take it personal” moment that got triggered. The journey of learning how not to take things personal is an adventure into awareness first. It is about “feeling” your reactions when something is said or done, once you sense you are reacting it is about looking at that reaction with authentic honesty – what does it stem from. Then it is time to vulnerably look at why you are taking it personal, or ask for clarification (Don’t assume) with regard to the subject.

In my twenty years of working day in and day out with this teaching I continue to be humbled by how often I still take things personal. However I can say that practice has helped me to quickly identify when this is happening. Once I have noticed and identified I can shift my reaction to let go, accepting that it is not about me, or if I need to I can ask for clarification, taking away the power of assumption. I can joyfully tell you that as I have learned to inquire and not assume, I am most often delighted to discover that I “assumed” completely wrong.

In conclusion today I ask you, “What are the stories you write based on things in your life that you have taken personal? Do these stories help you? Or do they limit your true magnificence? Why do you give others such power? What is so scary about asking for clarification? I can honestly say that learning to embrace the teachings from “The Four Agreements” has changed my life in so many ways; enriching my relationships and interactions with others. The joyous freedom to be your true self buds forth in a new light!!

The underbelly of the human psyche, what is often referred to as our dark side, is the origin of every act of self-sabotage. Birthed out of shame, fear, and denial, it misdirects our good intentions and drives us to unthinkable acts of self-destruction and not-so-unbelievable acts of self-sabotage. ~Debbie Ford

The Truth will set you free…

What is the main focus of my blog? It is to help you and I to explore, uncover, and expose our truths. In coming to the page in authentic vulnerable truth, I hope to help you feel less alone and to give you courage to step off the “repeat button” of your life. Why are we willing to go through the motions? Why do we accept fear as the controlling force in our world? Why do we not question and ask why? And for goodness sake, why are we afraid to tell those who love us our real TRUTH??

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.                       Thomas Jefferson

It has been my experience since I can remember that people most often keep secrets and do not share the raw truth with those they claim to love the most. Really!! This baffles me…constantly. Yet I remember I did the same thing, especially in my younger years, for I had no role models to show me anything different. Everyone around me was great at pretending, going through the motions, and making sure not to cause any waves – YET…the sad part of all this is that within us all there is a deep sadness and a knowing that our life’s are a partial  lie.

The truth I speak of is not the black and white scientific concrete story. Yes, the earth is round. Yes, a green bean is green (well there is the yellow wax bean). You get the point – the truth I speak of is the one guided by our heart, soul, feelings, emotions, and inner knowing.

What are we afraid of? One might say we are afraid to hurt someone’s feelings, afraid of conflict, afraid to tip the boat over – but I want to pose another possibility – I think we are most afraid of getting exactly what we want, truly connecting and feeling love at a level that scares the bajeebies out of us!! Ironically though, it is what our whole being aches for, craves, desires, and wants!!

The view
Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. Buddha

In my early thirties I began to put this hypothesis into action.  It took serious focus, attention, and rewiring!! Throughout our lives we are taught to share in a surface way, to be careful, to be nice, and to not expose our true feelings, basically we are taught to put up walls and keep our deepest feelings to ourselves. It was and is a daily conscious practice to shift away from this known taught pattern, at times I fall back on the behavior, for I am a mere human on this journey. As time goes by it becomes truly easier for me to be truthful from my very core, allowing me to enjoy immense freedom in all my relationships.

My recent situation with my job loss put me right back into the vulnerable space to explore what I am truly feeling. How do I share my “raw truth” with others, and let the egoic blame, shame game have no power? Gulp, breathe, pause, breathe…I think I can!! Telling my children was the biggest struggle, yet I knew I wanted to be the most truthful, the most open, loving, and exposed with them. Oh it would be soooo easy to blame the employer, go into a story of unfairness, and blah..blah..blah…that’s what we are taught to do – the fault and reason is over there, not here.

I looked deeply into the eyes of my son and daughter, “I have some news for you that I want to share.” They graced me with their complete quiet presence, truly listening with no distractions. Taking in a very deep breath I said,

“I lost my job. I feel so horrible about this, in that I do not want you to worry or feel embarrassed. I know we have been here before, for that I am very sorry. There are many reasons it did not work or last, but the important understanding and knowing for me is that I must be doing something that is in line with my soul purpose and dreams – I get less and less good at pretending, and going through the motions. I hope you two can forgive me and believe that all is going to be okay. I don’t know how yet to bridge the financial gap between here and the success of my business, but I know I must go for it, and trust that the answers will come.”

 My son looked at me and said, “Mom, we are definitely not embarrassed! You work harder than anyone I know, it just makes me sad that you never get valued for all that you do.” My daughter scooted across the floor to wrap me in a full body hug. Tears stung my eyes as I opened to receive the powerful unconditional love of my children, their unwavering support, encouragement, and faith in me, it rocked my heart and soul. I looked at them both and let the tears flow freely as I shared, “You know what made me the most mad about all of this was that I had calculated my budget and I was so excited that finally after four years, I was going to be able to buy you both a Christmas present. Now that is gone.” My son with his compassionate ways responded, “Mom, we don’t need any presents, you are all we need.” My daughter hugged me tighter.

Let us dream of tomorrow where we can truly love from the soul, and know love as the ultimate truth at the heart of all creation. Michael Jackson

In this humbling journey of truth I not only freed myself from the burden of pretending, but I opened the door for my loved ones to journey with me. This is only one example of how our sincere truth can set us free. I could go on and on, for as I practice this more deeply in my life, I only discover that it enriches and empowers every connection I am graced to experience. Whether it is your lover, your children, a colleague, or a stranger you meet, the opportunity to stop and share truth is profound – the gift it offers, ripples out beyond our wildest dreams.

I ask you – why are we afraid to ask for a hug, when that is what we truly want? Why are we afraid to say “I love you” first? Why do we not compassionately share when we feel hurt and explain why? Why do we prefer to choose anger, blame, denial, and pretending, over the grace of truth? Ultimately, why do we run from that which we really want – truthful inter-connection?

I hope you will reflect, digest, and take the chance to walk exposed in the vulnerable truth you are, for it truly will begin to set you free. One little reminder, sharing personal truth is not about blame or shame!!

“Truth without love is brutality, and love without truth is hypocrisy.” ― Warren W. Wiersbe

A “minnie how to” to tap into your truth, so you can share it –

  • You have to stop, be still, and take in a deep breath – the kind that reaches all the way to your toes.
  • In that quiet space feel into your truth, what am I really feeling? Anger, hurt, sadness, disconnect, etc…?
  • Once you have identified the feeling, follow it to the source. Example: Am I feeling disconnected from my husband and just want a hug and some time together. Am I feeling hurt because a colleague always leaves me out of the gatherings? Am I mad at my kids for treating me with disrespect and taking me for granted?
  • Now that you know the source, feel it, explore it, what do you really want, why are you feeling pain, anger, etc… Identify what you really wish was happening.
  • This is the courageous part; share your truth in a compassionate “I” statement that is not about blame or shame – just the raw truth. Example: “Hun, can I talk to you a moment, lately I have been feeling really distant from you, I would really enjoy a hug and to set a date for us to share time alone.” Take the BIG risk here and sincerely look into the eyes of the person you are sharing with – “See and be Seen” it is so important and precious.
  • Each time you do this it becomes easier and easier to identify what you are feeling and why. You will actually grow to look forward to sharing, for it will set all involved free.

A Time for Action

Was it written on my forehead? Could everyone see the truth? Was I bad person? Had I failed again? How do I tell my kids? My friends? My Family? Ugh…especially the latter group, for I had always been the misfit here, the “black sheep” who could “not succeed”.

I drove home with the secret hidden in my heart, in my soul, and in my every breath. I walked into my home, a tear slid down my cheek….F**k, here I was again!! Why me?? Yep, that age old victim question!! I knew there were no answers in that search engine, at least no answers that would logically make sense in the concrete world.

Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you. Thomas Jefferson

I had been here before, less than a year ago I walked this same path. I knew it way too intimately; for in truth I had visited this dark pit four times in my life, each time it struck a deeper part of my soul. The first time I was just under thirty, the second time I was just over forty with two young children, the third time I was fifty and this time I was embracing the last month of being fifty-one. In looking at this pattern one can definitely see that it has quickened, happening in a much faster pace. Someone/something was trying to get my attention!! The voice from within me screamed, “Enough already, stop trying to play the same game and expect different results – stop hitting your head against the wall!!”

Here I was, “jobless and unemployed” again. “You’re just not a good fit” were his words as he let me go three days before Thanksgiving. I knew it, I had felt it coming for weeks, I suppose even a few months, for truth always bubbles up. Life has a way of slapping you upside the head and saying “Hey, this job is not in line with your life purpose.” He was right, I did not fit, for many reasons – that story is for another day and time.

In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision. Dalai Lama

Today’s story is for every person who has ever felt they “failed”!! You walk around feeling like everyone can see your failure tattooed on your forehead, it is there when you go to pay for your groceries, tell a friend, share it on the next job application, and there when you breathe in and out! You toss and turn at night while you try to sleep, pushing the reality aside, praying with all you are for the answers to “how will I provide for my children, pay the rent, keep the heat going…” on and on it goes; the never ending litany of self abusive thoughts.

Why? Why do we feel shame around truths in our lives? Why do we hide and pretend? Why do we shut out those who might support and help us? Why do we criticize our very being?

I am here to share upon the page my raw vulnerable truth with no hiding, no pretending, and no denying – why you might wonder would I make this decision, take such a chance? I do it for my children, I do it for every student who ever had me as a teacher, I do it for every employee I hired, trained and worked with, I do it for my family and friends, I do it to free myself and hopefully others. For you see, real freedom lies in the naked exposure of our true self, in walking our talk with every action we embark on, in being that transparent loving truth no matter where we are or who we are with…that space is where joy, freedom, and true love live.

I want my children to dream and reach for the stars!! I want my students to never give up on their passions!! I want my actions and presence to be the difference! So today, tomorrow, the next day, and the next I shall step with pure purposeful action! I hope you will join me on the journey and share with others who you think might relate, find comfort, or inspiration. I continue to choose the path less traveled, however I joyfully anticipate that I will find more tracks there as we all come home to our dreams, desires, and heartfelt purpose.

There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction. John F. Kennedy

Yes, I lost my job. I did not however lose who I am, or the courage to step with love and openness. I am not a failure, I am not a bad person, I did not do something wrong! Part of life is about falling down and getting back up, exploring dead end roads that lead you back home, and being able to see the light in the darkest nights. I hope that no matter where you are in life, that you will not lose sight of who you are from within, for your truth can set you free.

Marianne Williamson  wisely stated – “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.” May you feel and understand the truth that you are not your job, your title, or your possessions – you are the unique special being/soul that runs through it all, taking action each day to be that difference in your life, in the life’s you touch, and in the world around you. Today I wish for you a deep breath with no fear, a moment where you release a self judgment that is harming you, and you take a moment to embrace with complete presence someone you love – for those are some of the real truths available for us all. Remember, you are not alone on this journey – ever….

Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world. Joel A. Barker