The Bridege to Freedom; Forgiveness!

Today I decided to write about a subject that has been a reoccuring theme in my life.

Forgiveness.

I will start this blog with a poem written by Stephen Edwards.

I read this poem alot, and wanted to share it with all of you because of the powerful influence it has had on my life and understanding of forgiveness.

For Ever and Ever

Sometimes its hard to take things in stride,

To turn the other cheek, look away, and swallow your pride.

But some people strike out in thier anger and pain.

And we must forgive them, again and again.

Try to understand, that although it’s not okay

It’s not your job to make them pay.

Give them the benefit of what you know.

Show them love, and help them grow.

You see, bitterness and anger only fuel the fire.

It’s to love and happiness that we all aspire.

If you try to find the good in all that you do

You’ll find it will reflects right back at you. 

Material things are great to get and to give

But they are not the reason that we all live.

It’s those memories of moments, of times spent together

That binds us together as one, forever and ever.

Whew! I don’t know about you but just reading those words makes the knees of my heart bend.

In my life I have had some serious grievances to forgive.

The abuse of my son by his father.

The suicide of my step son.

The abandonment of my husband, who left me and four kids homeless and with over $30,000.00 in debt to pay off.

Not one of these things can be easily forgiven. It literally took having my soul ripped wide open before I was able to see clearly the truth of what forgiveness actually is.

My first instinct was to offer the false forgiveness that we all so commonly offer. It goes something like this:

” Well, I will forgive that rat, but I am the better person for it. My forgiveness proves that I am alot better person than he is.”

or maybe I would say it more subtly, something like this:

” Oh I pity this poor helpless person. They can’t help themselves because of situation XY or Z. So I will allow that they are not responsible.” 

Neither one of these types of forgiveness ever brought me even one ounce of peace. I was trying to do the Lord’s work myself by trying to grant them absolution by something I said. I was putting myself up on a higher level than them. While failing to realize that by doing so, I was actually diminishing my own self worth.

Through trial and error, and hours and hours of prayer and study, I have come to the realization that all of my previous attempts at forgiveness were nothing more than maneuvers of my locical mind to allow me to keep the grievance alive, while pretending to let it go. This is a plan that CANNOT work.

No, the forgiveness that I am writing about today requires brutal honesty with yourself. No short cuts, no excuses, just blatant honesty.

Some things to consider when looking into your soul to find forgiveness are:

* It is important not to confuse forgiveness with denial. Instead of denying the world and its pain, which is just another form of grievance, you allow it and look THROUGH it it to see a truer, brighter reflection.

* And once you look closely at your situation and realize that you cannot judge- not that you shouldn’t, but that you LITERALLY cannot  judge- because you can never, ever, know all the circumstances involved. The only person who has that vast information is the Lord. He is the one who EARNED, and DESERVES the right to judge. We have neither earned or deserve that right as humans. Period! Once you accept this fact, not just logically, but emotionally, you will find yourself naturally starting to relax. Your mind will begin the process of letting go.

And that is it! That is the key! After all my study, after all the prayers and struggles, I learned that,

” Forgiveness is simply letting go of the need to have had a better past.”             Lama Suri Dos.

Forgiveness is simply a letting go, a relaxing, or a releasing of your logical mind.  Whoosh…you can feel the peace rushing in to smooth out the wrinkles your grievances have caused. Once you can unlock that power within your mind, other things will begin to flow into your life. The blockages you have experienced will begin to disappear as you continue to let go of the pain and choose to be free.

Choose to cross over that old rickety bridge. Choose faith. From the other side of the bridge, you can change the world. Your light will allow you to express itself and that will affect people and situations close to you and far beyond your awareness.

But most importantly, you will feel you have finally found a place that feels like home.  You will find comfort in your own skin, perhaps for the first time in years!

 

The Comeback Kid…do you have what it takes?

Today is the beginning of the Last 100 days of the year.  Thats right, we only have 100 more days left in 2013.  

Have you accomplished everything you wanted to when you made your New Years Resolutions 265 days ago? 

If not, do you have what it takes to make a strong comeback and finish the year strong?

Comebacks, redemption and second acts are ubiquitious in our culture today:

The celebrity who takes an embarrasing media scandal and transforms it into a opportunity to increase their fame and fortune; the politician who falls from Grace and rises to create a nonprofit that helps the poor.

So often big changes in our lives are sparked by a major setback- cancer, divorce, job loss, death of a loved one, accident, or bankruptcy- these kind of events have the power to put life into perspective. They gives us the push we need to begin a powerful “second act”; to wage our COMEBACK.

Sooner or later we will all experience a set back. We will all find ourselves up against the perverbial wall so to speak, when you do, will you come out fighting or shrink into oblivion?

As you all know, I hit the wall with my health in February this year. I had some major decisions to make. There was no time to lose either. I was staring down the barrell of a big gun, and needed to step out of the line of fire, before it was too late.

I had been neglecting and abusing my health for over 20 yrs. and my body showed it. I looked ten years older than I was, and felt even worse. I could barely get through my day. 

Today, I am proud to report that I did wage a comeback, and succeeded. I learned some very powerful tips along the way that will make a comeback possible for anyone, in any situation.

#1: Refuse to Die

In order to succeed you cannot afford to allow the shame of your failures to get you down. I learned accept disaster, laugh in its face and crawl back up on my feet again.  When I got down and people wanted to write me off, I refused to allow them to define me.

#2: Decide to Fight

I have learned to manage my emotions by reminding myself of where I have been and why I am where I am now. I made a promise to myself to not let anything, or anyone ever stop me again.

#3: Get MAD

Pain, Failure, Loss, Embarrasment, are all wonderful motivators.

Allow your trials to force your hand to make better choices and take a new direction in your life.  Let the pain be the fuel that ignites the fire within so you have the momentum to charge ahead full steam.

#4: Be Resourceful

The savvy fighter will not repeat the same mistake twice. I have learned to accept the rules of engagement in the real world. I have learned to analyze how I ended up on my back, and by doing so, can then begin to chart a new plan of attack. 

In this way, I have been able almost 100% of the time to turn a disadvantage into an advantage by choosing to see every situation as an opportunity for a Re-match rather than as a setback.

#5: Focus on the Results

Once I have made a decision to move in a certain direction, I DO NOT LOOK BACK. I refuse to allow a previous mistake to slow me down or de-rail my efforts.

There are hundreds of distractions, doubts, and setbacks that will haunt you as you are recovering from a disaster..but the true Champion can roll with the punches and keep on coming back for more.

#6: Take a Risk

They say, ” Good things come to those who wait.” I say BULL! Good things come to those who have the courage to step outside their comfort zone and allow themselves to be vulnerable.

I no longer see risk as a one-shot, do or die situation. For me, it has become a journey that I embark upon with anticipation. It is a journey that I choose to take for the sole purpose of the chance to explore a different path.

Columbus did not take a risk. He chose to explore a new world. Likewise, we don’t take risks when we explore new ways of doing things in our own lives, we are simply choosing to explore a new world for ourselves.

#7: Enjoy the Ride

The ultimate reward for the person staging a comeback is to see your vision come to life in the real world where you can finally enjoy the deep confidence of one who has fought their way through hell and emerged to see the stars.

In Feburary, I decided to embark on a journey to reclaim my health and ended up doing things that I never imagined I was capable of doing.

I have been extremely successful in regaining my health. The Doctor is amazed at my recovery. My friends are shocked by the changes to my body. In Feburary I weighted over 200 lbs, and today I am 172. I have lost over 27″ of fat from my body, and feel fantastic.

I was so excited by the effectiveness of the nutritional supplements that I took to assist me in getting back my health, that I wanted to share the Companys product and vision with everyone I knew, thus the Zombie Fun Run was born. It was the launching board for a 60 day fitness challenge that AVAR Lifestyle Design helped me give to the members of my community.

Through the journey of creating this Zombie event, many many doors of opportunity have opened up in my life.

I met people I would never had been able to meet otherwise.

I established my reputation as a capable event planner in my community.

I was able to show people first hand that they are NOT slaves to their bodies, and that they can take back control of their health.

I was able to create a new source of income for me and my family,

and also have the satisfaction of donating the proceeds of the Zombie Run to the Boys and Girls Clubs, an organization that I feel very passionate about. 

You just never know where you will end up when you make one small decision to stage a comeback in your very own life.

So, today as we begin the last 100 days of the year, I want to challenge you to make the decision to stage your very own comeback…you never know where you will end up!

 

Power of Friendship

Have you ever stopped to think what your life would be like without your beautiful, crazy, powerful friends?  For some reason this morning, I woke up thinking about how very blessed I am to have the friends in my life that I do.

This weekend my girlfriend Brenda and I got all dressed up and went to an 80’s party. We donned our very best 80’s attire and turned back the clock 20 yrs.

I looked like a Madonna wanna be, and Brenda looked like a Boy George look alike. We danced for hours to the good old music we used to listen to as teenagers. We left the party that night happy, and very content. Dancing and laughing will do that for your soul…which is why I probably woke up feeling so very blessed to have the friends I do in my life.

When I had to endure the heartache of losing a loved one forever, then the love of my life walked out the door…it was my girlfriends that sustained me.

When I didn’t think I had the strength to get out of the bed in the morning.  My friends were there to give me exactly what I needed- a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on, or a quiet smile that filled me with hope.

But.. friends are not just great to have during the stormy times in life, they are also amazing when it is sunny. They make the happy times in life shine so much brighter. They are the sparkle that add glamour to our lives.

Girlfriends are more valueable than the most precious jewels in the world.  These precious souls are the ones who have been there when you needed them the most; and you know that they will be there till the end- good or bad, they have your back.

I am so blessed and honored to be surrounded by some of the most amazing women on the planet, that I get to call friends. Thanks to you all. You have brought purpose and meaning to my life. The woman I am today is a reflection of all of the beautiful women who have walked beside me during my journey.

Thanks Mom, Grandma Tippets, My 5 sisters, Wendy, Anne, Emily, Erin and Connie. Thanks to Micky and Brenda, thanks to Jennifer who keeps encouraging me to write in my blog. Thanks to all the 2nd moms in Elmo that helped raise me and shape my into who I am. Thanks to all the staff at Cleveland Elementary…and so many many other women.

Lets all take a minute today and call, text, or visit the friends in our lives that have gotten us this far! Make sure they know how much they are loved and needed.

We are all artists…Your life is Art!

Todays blog is a tribute to my son and the life that he chose to end eight years ago today.

If he was here today, these are some of the words I would tell him.

Words that grew  inside of me after Victor decided to take his own life. Words I wish I would have had the wisdom and experience to speak to him while he was here. One of lifes ironies is that sometimes, we don’t have the words until AFTER we need them.

I have learned to wake up each day and share my first cup of coffee with the Lord. I sit in my chair and thank him for giving me one more day on this earth. One more day to look up at the sun, to listen to the singing water, to feel the unpredictable wind.

I focus on these things for one simple reason; they remind me that nothing is ever still. They are always moving, always flowing. Anything that is alive is always moving and changing. And so am I.

Whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, they are already changing, right now. And in what direction? That depends entirely on you. Every single thought that crosses your mind, every single action you take is the foundation of who you will be right around the corner.

That is why I try to take notice of whatever I am feeling at any given moment of the day. I now understand very clearly that I am in constant motion, through my thoughts and actions, I am evolving into someone better and stronger. I have learned that it is through my faith that I find purpose in the pain, and pleasure in the triumphs.

Most of the frustrations in life arise when we try to block, stop or go against the natural everchanging flow of life. All of these actions are the OPPOSITE of creativity. As an artist I have learned that the essence of creativity is flowing with my own unique soul and nature.

We are all a beautiful whisper of the earth, whose natural behaviour is to explore, to learn, to experience, to engage, to change, to evolve. When we become quiet and close the door on the world so that we can listen to the whisper, we find that it is in fact our own inner intuition leading us in the direction that our Creator intended us to travel.

In the past, I blocked the creativity and flow in my life by wishing that I could go back in the past and change it. Or by trying to keep a person or thing exactly as it was because I found pleasure in it at the time. If I am honest with myself, I realize that when I find myself doing this, it is because I fear the consequences of change. By wishing to control the flow of life and set it exactly as I like it, I believed that I could make it better.

The fact is, that is just not even remotely possible!  And the more we try to control life, the more unhappy we feel because we are fighting against something much larger and bigger and powerful than us...LIFE!

For me, the answer to this dilema was to recoginize my true nature and to allow myself to flow with my nature, not against it. When I made that decision, I began to understand that every single part of me, from the smallest cell to my deepest thoughts were constantly changing.  It was then that I was able to finally relax and enjoy life. I could appreciate the pain for the lessons it taught. I could celebrate the experiences that had created a woman who was confident in her ability to survive any obstacle that life handed her.  A woman who was comfortable in her own skin and could venture forth into the world knowing her heart, and loving it.

I now live my life in a very relaxed state. I can honestly say that I love my true nature, and that I enjoy swimming along with it and discovering the amazing variety, richness and infinate joy that I find all around me. When we are truely engaged with what is going on at every moment of our lives, life ceases to be a struggle, and magically becomes a celebration of our tragedies and our triumphs.

I used to live in fear that love and other valueable things were in danger because of this ever changing reality of life. I now understand that the opposite is true. Those things that are rigid and never move are the ones that crack and break easily. Those that flow and move continuously are also the ones that are the most resilient and last longer.

As a mother, I have taught my children to look around, to reconnect with life daily. Everything is art, from the skyscrapers to the trees, all of them move to adapt to the winds or the earthquakes. Love is also movement and only in movement can it thrive, grow and last.

By realizing that like the wind, like the trees, like the sun, you are constantly evolving and flowing, second by second, you will discover that every one of those moments is different and full of amazing opportunities and joy that are right there for you to interact with.

Like me, you are all artists. Yes. You are. Because your life is your art, and if you truely engage with it, your life itself will be the most beautiful artistic work you will have ever seen.

I am sad that Victors life ended tragically eight years ago, but I celebrate his duality now. He exists now in a place where all suffering and sorrow has passed away, while simultaniously living within the hearts of all of us who knew and loved him. He opened my heart and mind to things in life that alone, I would never have been able to see. I will forever see life through the lense of magic that was my sons passion.

Rest in Peace my son until we meet again.

My Favorite Question.

I have been recieveing personal coaching from a very amazing mentor, Ia Jimenez.  She has been opening my eyes and heart to some new possibilities lately.

As I have pondered on my sessions with her, and have gone to my knees in prayer, I have come to a very beautiful conclusion. I will share that conclusion with you by asking you to consider a question,                                                                  Just how good can life get?  Imagine the possibilities.

What if you started each and every day posing that question to both yourself, and to the Lord? What if you had the courage to surrender your life to him in complete obedience. How good could life get?

I used to believe that to surrender to anything meant that I was weak, or needy. I was so afraid to let anyone assist me in life for fear that they would not complete the task, and I would be left stranded. For me, it was just easier to do it myself, then I KNEW it would get done.  The problem with that mindset is that you wear yourself out…completely! You are so busy running in so many different directions, that nobody gets any quality out of their interactions with you.

This year, in Feburary, I was told that I was wore out.  Literally!   My body was on the verge of collapse. I had a very small window of time to change my health before it was to late.  So I did the only thing I knew to do and went to my knees. Through a series of events I discovered a company named AVAR Lifestyle Design. They offered nutritional products that claim to restore balance to your body so that it could work the way God created it to work.

So on 4/11/13 I started a 16 wk Lifestyle Transformation Journey with AVAR.

My initial thought was that I was going to take products and lose weight, and maybe stave off the diagnosis of Diabetes. What ended up happening is my entire life was transformed right along with my body.

This company was way more than just a nutritional product company. They are literally a company that has the goal of complete transformation of mind, body and soul.  I saw some amazing changes in my body within 10 days that led me to call the AVAR Customer Support number. That is how I met AVAR President, Ia Jimenez. She was so excited to hear my story that she put me on a conference call with AVAR customers all over the country.

The next morning I woke up with a very strong impression that I needed to create an event in Emery County and share this company with the people that I loved. After 20 yrs of trying everything to get back in shape, and experiencing one failure after another, I had finally found something that worked. I wanted to tell the whole world. Thus, the Zombie Run was born. It was the perfect place to kick off the 60 day fitness challenge.

This Saturday will mark the beginning of my new life. A life where I have learned to trust. Learned to surrender. Learned to obey. Learned to have Faith. When I look into the mirror each day, I struggle to recognize the person looking back at me. I no longer see a sad, unhappy woman. I see possibilities. I see health. I see love.  I see the light of the Lord shining through my countenance. I recoginze my true worth as a Daughter of God’s Royal family.

This Zombie run is an event that will bring so many parts of my life together. I hoped to create a fun atmosphere where we could all gather and in a supportive environment learn about fitness. Learn how much fun is can be to get healthy. I want to share the joy I have discovered on my Lifestyle Journey. I want to share AVAR with the world. I want to tell anyone out there that has given up on themselves that there is still hope for them, I am proof!

I wanted to celebrate my favorite holiday with the people who have shared so much of my life. Halloween is the best time of year for me. I love the chill in the air, the changing colors in the mountains, and all the preparations we make to preserve all the food from our gardens…all of it.

I love this time of year and wanted to celebrate it with all of you.

I also want to celebrate the Heros among us. I want to thank them personally for the service they so selflessly provide to protect our precious freedoms.

I want to talk about the problems of childhood obesity, and how we as parents are unknowingly contributing to this problem, and what we can do for our precious children to change this trend in our community.

I pray that The Zombie Fun Run will succesfully accomplish all I have set out to accomplish when I fisrt concieved the idea of presenting it to all of you. I ask for the Lords blessing in my efforts on saturday, and hope that this event will be a night that all of you will never forget!

So once again, I want to re-pose that question to you that I did at the beginning of this blog…JUST HOW GOOD CAN LIFE GET?  I now begin each and every day with that as my mantra. I delight in the possibilities. A year ago, I never would have had the courage or confidence to attempt anything as big as The Zombie Fun Run, but because I have learned to be obedient to the promptings, and surrender my life to the Lord…I now KNOW that life is full of infinate possibilities.

Come give yourself the chance to change your life too. Come meet Ia Jimenez and Dr. Ola madsen in person at the Zombie Fun Run.  What do you have to lose but your pounds of pain?