To my Sweet Child…

I have entered a brand new phase in my journey through motherhood.

I am now the mother of an adult child!

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Actually I have been for two years now,
but…
lately it seems that I have finally “accepted” the fact that my oldest child is a twenty year old man.

That realization has brought on a whole new set of questions for me to ponder.

How do I help and offer guidance to him now that he is an adult who is capable of making his own decisions?

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But the real challenge for me has been wondering if I really conveyed to him just how special and wonderful he really is to me.

Does he know how much he means to me?

Did I teach him enough about consequences to allow him to make good decisions for his life?

Yesterday, we had a really good talk.

I was in tears.
He was holding his back…because he is a big boy now. 

Yesterday, I just wanted him to know a few things.

I needed to make SURE that he knew what he means to me.

So, today, I am going to share a few of the things I told him yesterday.

Maybe they will help another mother who, like me, is trying to figure out how to transition from a “mom” to a “mom of adult children

Here is our conversation:

Tyler, I long for you to know the beauty I see in you.

I want you to know that you are enough just as you are.

That you are loved beyond measure and capable of anything.

I long for you to know that you are an infinite soul here simply to have the human experience, to share your gifts and find your way back home to God’s perfect love.

There is no place you need to worry about except but right here, right now.

There is no time but right now.

You chose this brave life.

You have handled your abuse like a true hero.

You are amazing.

You have arrived at adulthood in one piece, despite the many people who doubted that we could ever accomplish that feat.

Release the striving for more, YOU are the more.

Never compare yourself with others.

Because, you are not separate from your brothers and sisters, they are you and you are they and you are all  perfect, whole and complete.

We are a family.

We are ONE unit.

Release the need to judge and escape this world in favor of some realm you deem better, higher, purer.

You came here to be HERE.

So be here.

Smell every flower,

cry every tear,

touch the earth,

get messy, moved and mad.

Feel it all.

Embrace it.

Love it.

Bathe in the sensations, especially the intense ones, soak it all in, drink in the dark times as much as the delights.

Because, if there is one thing I can promise you about this world…it is that you will get hurt.

You will be betrayed.

BUT…

Taking the chance to love is worth it EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Don’t fight it.

Feel it.

It’s all life.

It’s all you.

It’s all LOVE.

Falling apart is normal.

Do not fear it.

Feel it.

Ride those waves.

Allow light, life and love to crack you open.

Embrace the unknown.

It’s okay not to know all the answers.
Do not hide who you are.

Your truth and courage will empower others in ways you cannot imagine.

Do not hide the light that can ease the darkness of this world.

Shine.

Bright.

Be brave.

You are loved.

You are not alone.

You are worthy of every blessing.

You will get through the dark times.

You are the hero of your own life.

Leave it all on the field.

Regret nothing.

Leave nothing in your heart unsaid, leave no one unloved, especially you.

And then when your day is done and you turn to look back along the path you walked and the people you loved, you will know you did this thing, with bells on, you sucked the juice out of every moment, felt it all, gave it all, loved it all.

I long for you to know the beauty I see in you, to know that you are enough just as you are, that you are loved beyond measure and capable of anything.

I long for you to know that you are an infinite soul here simply to have the human experience, to share your gifts and find your way home to love.

Being a mother has been the greatest adventure of my life.

My children have all brought with them their own special gifts that have taught me lessons about life that I probably have never learned without them there to teach me.

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I love them with a deep and tender love that can never be changed, altered, or destroyed by anything they do.
My love is forever.
My prayer is that I was a good mother to them and they I am sending them out into this world prepared to fight the good fight!
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You will NEVER have peace until you learn this lesson…

Last week I talked a lot about being fully present and active in your life.

I talked about letting go of fear,

taking responsibility,

and forgiveness.

 

 

Today, I really want to hone in on just how important forgiveness is to living a healthy and productive life.

I was first faced with the issue of forgiveness on a really GRAND scale when my son was abused by his father and his uncle.

I was filled with rage!

They had stolen my son from me!

Sure, He was still alive, and I could hold him in my arms, but the sweet little  boy who was full of wonder and joy, was gone. In his place was a terrified, angry little monster.

People kept telling me that my anger was justified.

This added more fuel to my fire.

As my anger grew, so did my fear and depression.

I am certain that I would have continued walking down this path of hatred, that would lead me to my own destruction, had it not been for my sweet little boy.

He loved me so much, and it was killing my three year old to watch me living my life this way…

How do I know that it was killing him?

Because he told me!

 

I was folding clothes one day and he came into the laundry room and said mommy can I tell you something?

I knelt down so we were eye to eye… Then he softly touched my cheeks with his little chubby hands and said, “Mommy, I didn’t tell you what dad and Bill did so that you would hate them, I told you so that you could protect me. Why are you so mad?”

I answered him and explained that I was angry because they had hurt him.

He looked at me like he was very confused.

Then he said something to me that immediately and permanently changed my life in ways I never could have foreseen.

He said, “No they didn’t mommy, they hurt my body, but they didn’t hurt me. I am fine. God was giving them a test, and they didn’t pass it. You don’t need to worry mommy, I am not hurt.”

 

Talk about changing your perspective!

In that instant, my life began to spin in a whole different direction.

Sure, I was still going to have to endure years of struggles and hardships, but in that moment my tiny three year old reminded me that there is a much bigger plan that is going on around us, and we just never know what the reason for our trials might be.

So I became very determined to find some way to learn how to forgive so that I could be present and focused on my son so that we could heal the trauma that he had been through and create a beautiful life for this special little spirit that the Lord had trusted me with.

My first really powerful idea about forgiveness was this:

I read it in the book titled, “Letting go of the person you used to be”

By lama Surya Das.

“Forgiveness means letting go of the hope for a better past.”― Lama Surya Das

That became my new definition of Forgiveness.

Since then I have figured out a few more powerful truths about learning to forgive.

Here are my top 10.

These have all been thoroughly tested in the Laboratory I call “My Life”

#1: Forgiveness allows us to be fully present in this moment, right here, right now.

 

#2: Forgiveness enables us to wholeheartedly embrace what is and to be at peace with our past and fully engaged with the present.

 

#3: Making peace with our past is the fastest way we can experience the abundance that is our birthright. Without forgiveness there is always something pulling us out of alignment with ourselves and with life; it is an energy drain in our system.

#4: Until we have made perfect peace with all that has occurred in our entire life, and with all the people who have played a part in it, we deny ourselves the full richness of our true potential.

 

#5: Forgiveness is a gift we give to ourselves.

 

#6: It frees up the energy we had invested in making another, or ourselves, wrong. Ultimately, forgiveness is letting go of the illusion that something actually ever went wrong.

#7: Self-forgiveness is reclaiming our innocence. We let go of the belief that we should have known what we didn’t know then. We let go of the story that we should have been something we were not then, or that we should have acted in a way that we were not capable of at that time.

#8: Forgiveness is a choice.

 

#9: From the highest viewpoint, forgiving others is actually quite natural. We all can readily admit that whatever perceived wrong another might have committed, we have committed the same or a similar wrong ourselves—even if only in our imagination. 
We know their so-called wrong was the result of ignorance, born out of fear.  

 

#10: Know that it no longer serves you to cling to any story of wrong doing, either by yourself or by another.

So I will end today with this little thought for you to ponder and hopefully apply to your own life:

What is the benefit of continuing to perpetuate stories that contradict the truth that we are all essentially love?

It is my prayer today that as you begin to shift your perspective about who and what you truly are, that in turn will shift the nature of the world you inhabit and the experiences you have with others.

The world cannot help but become a more loving place because with forgiveness you will have become a more loving, openhearted human being. And all you had to do was come into alignment with what was already true.

You are a being of love and light!

 

Not hate and judgement.

Day one: The cure for Hopium Addiction.

Yesterday, I wrote a blog titled, “What are you addicted to?”

In that blog, I gave a list of things you could do to improve your levels of happiness and encouraged you to take one action step each day from that list to decrease your dependency on “HOPIUM”.

(If you missed it, I suggest you go back and read it so that you can see that list for yourself.)

So for the next 25 days, I will take one item from that list and expand on it so that we can all go on a journey of self- discovery together.

I would love to have as many people as possible join me in this journey.

 Leave your name, your blog page, and any tips or hints that you have used in your own life to decrease your dependency to “Hopium”.

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Item #1 on the list was Healing…

So here is my story from abuse to healing.

 

When I was first out of high school, and a newly married woman, I went off to the mountains for a weekend of hiking with an older, wiser friend of twenty-two. 

After we set up our tent, we sat by a stream, watching the water swirl around rocks and talking about our lives.

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 At one point she described how she was learning to be “her own best friend.”

 A huge wave of sadness came over me, and I broke down sobbing.

I was the farthest thing from my own best friend. 

 I was continually harassed by an inner judge who was merciless, relentless, nit-picking, driving, often invisible but always on the job.

I knew I had made a mistake by getting married so young and to a man who had been abusive while we had dated, but I was to young and inexperienced to know how to get out of the situation…

 So I had just allowed the inertia of my life to carry me forward.

(At the age of 18 I found myself in a very abusive marriage.)

I was terrified, and did not know where to turn for help.

So I just kept silent and pretended that my life was perfect.

 In the eyes of the world, I was highly functional.

Internally, I was anxious, terrified and often depressed.

I didn’t feel at peace with any part of my life.

  I longed to be kinder to myself.

 I longed to befriend my inner experience and to feel more intimacy and ease with the people in my life.

But, until I was ready to be honest and tell the truth about my life, I was going to stay stuck.

And stuck I stayed for 10 years.

I finally filed for divorce when I saw that the abuse was starting to happen to my sweet little boy Tyler.

Unfortunately, since I was still not being honest and telling the truth about the abuse in my 1st marriage…

 I married another abusive man.

And the cycle began again!

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This time I stayed in that marriage for 12 yrs.

But after my second divorce, I did something radically different.

I took a time off from a social life for a while and spent time getting to know ME.

I vowed to not date until I had given myself time to heal.

It was during this very lonely and difficult time that I discovered meditation, affirmations, and the importance of feeding my body healthy and nutritious food.

But at some point I realized that I needed to dip my toes in the water of social life and start to re-connect to the world again.

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Now, I realize that not everyone who endures a traumatic experience is scarred by it;

the human psyche has a tremendous capacity for recovery and even growth.

 

However, recovering from a traumatic experience requires that the painful emotions be thoroughly processed.

 

I had to face the fact that I had been wounded by the abuse, and that the psychological trauma that had been caused by the years of abuse could not be repressed or forgotten.

 

I had to learn to trust people enough to talk about my experiences and ask for help.

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As long as I was going to try and suppress my experiences, they were going to continue to choke any joy that I might have had completely out of my life.

And that if they were not dealt with directly, the distressing feelings and troubling events would continue to replay over and over in the course of my lifetime, creating a condition known as Post-traumatic stress disorder.

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The other unfortunate side effect of refusing to deal with the trauma was that I had married the same man twice, and I most likely would continue with that cycle again and again unless, I allowed myself to heal properly this time.

There are so many wonderful resources out there for victims of abuse, but whatever inner resources people need to mobilize for recovery, they still cannot accomplish the task alone.

 Depression and trauma are disconnective disorders.

They do not improve in isolation.

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To fix them you have to be connected to others.

 

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If you overload an electrical system with too much energy and too much stimulation, the circuit breaker activates and shuts everything down.

The human nervous system is also an electrical system, and when it is overloaded with too much stimulation and too much danger, as in trauma, it also shuts down to just basics.

I can still vividly remember this time in my life. The best way I can describe it is that I always felt numb,

in shock,

or dead inside.

The juices in my life had turned off.

Fortunately, most people will not have experienced so much primary trauma that they must see a professional counselor.

They can usually work through their feelings by involving the people they are close to.

They do it by telling their story—a hundred times.

They need to talk talk talk, recount the gory details.

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That is the means by which humans can begin to dispel the feelings of distress attached to their memories.

The more that those feelings can be encouraged, the better.

The more you feel the more you heal.

The expression of feelings can take many forms.

For most people it may be easiest to talk.

But others may need to write.

Or draw.

However they tell their stories, the rest of us have an obligation to listen.

 

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The next step I took in my healing process was to

begin to take action and make a difference even

in the smallest ways.

Taking action helped to restore a sense of

control in my life.

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I now find so much joy and happiness in the work I do for my community and family.

Taking action put me back out there in the world in a way that has helped me discover who I am, and what makes my heart sing.

 

In conclusion today, I just want to remind anyone out

there who is hurting and cannot find joy in their life,

that traumatic experiences are the broken bones of the

soul.

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 If you engage in the process of recovery, you get stronger.

 If you don’t, the bones remain porous, with permanent holes inside, and you are considerably weaker.

I am saddened each time I hear stories of

wounded souls.

I want so desperately to wrap my arms around

you and support you during your healing

process.

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That is what I hope will happen as I detail the 25 action steps to happiness.

I hope and pray that we can each feel safe to share our stories and the ways we healed so that all of my readers can enjoy a greater sense of joy.

When we heal, the entire world heals.

So let’s all join hands and do this together

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Part 1: Getting where you want to be

We are all perfect as we are, we are exactly where we are supposed to be. 
 
Breathe in a sigh of relief –
you are not behind,
you have not fallen off course,
you are not somehow broken. 
Right now, in this moment you are exactly where you are supposed to be.
It is not possible for it to be any different.
If there are things you do not like about where you are,
the fact that the desire to change it exists in you,
means it is possible for you to change it.
 Everything in your life has led you to this moment, seated where you are, reading this right now. 
Breathe that in and become present to all that you are: LOVE.
This is my best advice to anyone who is stuck at a place in their lives that is undesirable to them.
I too have been there.
I too, have made choices that caused me to experience such deep levels of pain that, to this day, I do not know how I survived.
I clearly remember the desperation, the fear, the hopelessness.
But I was determined to live the life of my dreams.
The life that I knew I was capable of having.
So, I started my journey on the long road HOME.
For the rest of this year, 2013…I will be posting blogs that share the insights and wisdom that made it possible for me to not only survive my trials, but to THRIVE, and succeed in all areas of my life.
The insights I offer don’t come from a college degree, or some fancy title behind my name.
My insights come from life lessons.
From real experiences that have shaped me into the woman I am today;
A woman who is capable of deep appreciation of everything in her life.
A woman who can recognize a good person when she meets them, because she has been abused by the bad ones.
A woman who does not hesitate to give her WHOLE heart to her family and loved ones, because she knows that to give  them any thing less than that will eventually destroy that love.
But most of all, I am a woman who knows what I want, and will fight any battle to achieve my goals.
When I hit the bottom of my downward spiral,
I literally hit the BOTTOM!
To go down any further than I already was would have been my undoing, and I knew it!
So…
what I did was to go down on my knees. I cried out to the only one who I felt could hear me. I was so alone, so ashamed, so crushed that no mere mortal could have helped me at all.
What I discovered on my knees, is the very thing that started to change the entire direction of my life:
I discovered that I was exactly where I was supposed to be, doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing.
I began to see that my “TRIALS” were not necessarily trials at all but rather valuable “LESSONS.”Lessons that changed me into a person that God could use for his purposes.
This simple, yet profound change in attitude allowed me to set aside the debilitating emotions of guilt, shame, and fear.
Experience is a tough teacher…she will always give you the test first, and the lesson afterward.
but, if you are willing to stop living life as a victim, and instead live it as a student…your life will blossom just as mine has, I PROMISE!
So on today’s blog, I want to focus on the area of forgiveness. Because until you can forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made, that have led you to where you are now, you cannot move past it.
I read a quote in a book called ” Letting go of the Person you used to be” by lama Suri Das
In it he was speaking about forgiveness, and he said that forgiveness is one of the most difficult concepts for humans to embrace and understand, and yet its concept is so simple. He said,               ” Forgiveness is simply letting go of the need to have had a better past.”
Let the truth of that statement penetrate your mind for a moment.
There is NOTHING, or NOBODY in your past that you have any power what-so-ever to change.
The past is gone…FOREVER.
It cannot be altered, changed or destroyed.
So WHY hold on to it like a life line.
It is NOT a lifeline, it is a moat thrown around your neck that is drowning you, literally killing you.
Sure, there are people and situations in your past that have hurt you. Things that changed you in ways that you can never repair.
SO WHAT?
By holding onto that pain and abuse, you are allowing them to continue to hurt you today, even as we speak.
You cannot hate them for your pain, when it is your choice to let them keep hurting you.
You need to fight back.
You need to reclaim your identity, the one you had before they stole it from you.
You need to LET THEM GO…
Stop trying, hoping, praying that they will change and be better.
They won’t…
SO MOVE ON!
I always ask my kids this question when they are upset with the actions of someone who hurt them, and they can’t understand why they don’t just CHANGE and be nice.
“How hard is it for YOU to change a bad habit in your life, even when you are dedicated and determined to change it?”
To which they usually respond, ” It is really hard, I have to concentrate on it all the time or else I will forget and slip back into my bad habit.”
That is when I impart this wisdom to them…
” If it is that hard to change YOURSELF….How impossible is it to change SOMEONE ELSE?”
I used to be a rescuer. I thought that if I loved people enough, they would change and be dedicated to me forever…
WRONG!
What I discovered is this,
Unless someone asks for your help, and is willing to help themselves, Don’t try to help them.
I had to accept the truth that I was arrogant.  It is pure arrogance that makes you believe that you have the RIGHT to butt into someone else’s life and attempt to alter it somehow, even if you are attempting to alter it in a positive way, it is still wrong.
I had told myself for so long that I was being Christlike, that I was compassionate, but the truth is, I was arrogant, and that attitude was the reason for my life being such a mess.
Not my ex-husband.
Not my job.
Not anything…it was ME.
I was my own worst enemy.
But feeling guilty was not going to change anything, neither was  resentment, or desiring revenge.
The only way to change my life was to FORGIVE.
I had to forgive myself, first and foremost.
I had to forgive my ex-husband. And that one was hard!
I had to forgive the past.
I had to let go of the need to have had a better past and set my sights on the present, and the future.
I began by writing down the things I wanted.
I wrote a letter to myself, a letter that I gave myself 10 yrs to achieve.
I wrote a letter to the man in the future that I was going to grow old with.
I wrote a letter to my adult children.
In all these letters, I held myself accountable to becoming the person that they would be proud of.
A person that they could admire, and emulate. A person that was worthy of their love.
In a word, I let go of the past and embraced the challenge of the future.

One thing we all have in common is that we all love
a challenge!
For some it could be a goal that puts you to the test,

an obstacle that says you can’t beat me,

a belief system that is begging for a breakthrough,

or even a mountain that just dares you to climb it.
Whatever it is, your attitude should be BRING IT ON!

The benefits of being challenged physically, intellectually,
emotionally, and vocationally are in a word:
ENORMOUS!
YOU have greatness inside you!

However it will never  burn as bright as it could if you do not WILLINGLY
put yourself in a position to test your limits.

To dig to the depths of your commitment.

To push yourself to go further and faster than you ever have before.

To allow yourself to FORGIVE and let go of the past and embrace the possibilities that await you in the future.

 Tomorrow I will talk about setting goals.
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