“Stand Alone”

Prompt: 5 minutes “Stand Alone”

“Stand Alone”

Stand alone. On your own two feet. See what you can do without any others to stop you, to help you, to harm you, to interfere, to suggest other ways. What does your heart say? What is your heart saying to you? IMG_6132

Stand alone. You already do stand alone. But alone with a living God burning brightly inside your very heart chakra, comforting you, guiding you, suggesting ideas that will catapult you to the Highest Version of Yourself that you can imagine. We just don’t often take the time to listen to that part of ourselves. Yes, I believe the Holy Spirit is a part of each of us, so intertwined with every fiber of our being that we can never not be holy. If we listen.

Stand alone. I used to stand alone and mope inside about being alone. Why doesn’t anyone really understand me? I need them to understand me! I cried tears and sobbed guttural wails as I wrestled with the challenges of growing up, maturing, moving from an insecure teenager to an insecure adult, an insecure wife, mother, neighbor, church member, volunteer, over-achiever. Until it all came crashing down on me in the form of what would morph from one day of a swollen throat, fever, body aches worse than the flu, fatigue that slammed me flat to the surface of my water bed and wouldn’t let me go, into the woman I am now. Twenty-five years I’ve lived inside my body alone, alone in houses full of people who cannot understand this bizarre chronic illness. But now I stand alone – secure in Who I Am.

Sat nam.

“Boundaries Burst”

Time: 10 minutes       Today’s Prompt:         ” Boundaries burst”Castle with bridge down

Boundaries Burst

Boundaries burst every time. What the hell, you might say? I thought I’d learned that lesson and then you realize you’ve done it again — compromised your integrity, your soul, giving in to the pressures to be liked.

Boundaries burst when you’re a people pleaser. When you let yourself be guilted into making a different choice. “Sure, I’ll come to that.” “Sure, you can borrow my ________ ” fill-in-the-blank. “Sure!”

Boundaries burst when inside your head your voice is telling you one thing, reacting with a zillion thoughts, none of which come out of your mouth. “No problem!”

My husband calls it “Southern Belle Bullshit” — when (women) say one thing and mean another. He holds up his two outstretched hands: one motioning “come hither,” the other rigid, palm out, staunchly saying “No! Stop!” This always gets a laugh from an audience, but now when he does this, I notice at least half the time he has a point, has caught me sending mixed messages. Old habits die hard.

Boundaries burst when we throw off the shackles of our past. When we suddenly see, “Aha! Now I get it!” It might only seem like a tiny shift in perspective, but it’s an important one, a huge one, really.

pendulum swingingSometimes people have the tendency to overcorrect themselves — the gargantuan pendulum swing necessary for them to practice a new way. Off-putting, it can seem to others. Suddenly a shock. But no one is going to hand you permission to change on a silver platter when it means they no longer can rely on your co-dependence! Get real! But the brusque change can bristle others’ feathers, I’m just saying.

Boundaries burst for others, too. Let’s say you’ve had brick-tight boundaries, letting no one in. No one. Always protective of yourself. Emotions locked up so tight inside your chest, nary a tear has escaped your eyes in decades. Feelings bottled up, emotional expressions kept in check, invincible, strong. Well, maybe the occasional outburst, which no one saw coming or understood, because mostly you’ve never let anyone close enough to know the real feelings going on inside of you. But in the process, you have no intimate relationships. Not many anyway. Not really intimate. You’ve protected your heart with boundaries so clear it hurts. Boundaries bursting then are like a tight, full balloon ready to be tied off, holding orange balloonbut instead, something causes you to let it go, releasing it into the air in front of you. It sputters around the room in relaxed delight and you exhale and laugh and smile! You’ve let your drawbridge down, and others, timidly at first, start to cross the divisive moat you’ve built around yourself for years and years. Ah, yes. Love rushes in when boundaries burst. (time)

“A gentle heart …”

Prompt: 15 minutes: “A gentle heart….”

A Gentle Heart

A gentle heart is what I have sometimes, what I show to the world. I hide the dark part of my heart, my soul processing shameful feelings secretly, purging them of any power over me. The self-doubt, the insecurities, the grief, depression, desperation, feelings of futility, despair.

I breathe. Deeply. Remember to do as I’ve been taught — let those darker images pass, like clouds on a windy day. Breathe in love, breathe out fear. Fill myself up with so much love, so much light; breathe out any resistance, any darkness, any remnant of any fear. Cultivate a loving heart, a  compassionate heart, a gentle heart.

me at 3-4In my mind I picture a little me, about three or four years old, and I take that little girl in her handsewn powder blue light cotton nightgown onto my lap, wrap my strong, warm arms around her. “Shhh…,” I say. “It is all alright. I’ve got you now. You can relax, just be.” And I clutch that little Ginny to my breast so I can hear my own heartbeat. It slows, beats steadily, then more quietly, strong but reassured as I relax and relearn to just be.

Be, like a perfect newborn, no expectations, so no disappointments. Inherently worthy. Without. Doing. Anything.IMG_7921

So hard, sometimes, to remember I am still this perfect child of God, even with all my imperfections. I am not Jesus Christ! I don’t have to be perfect to be worthy! As a matter of fact, that is the Easter message, as I prepare my heart during this Lenten season, opening myself again and again to the abundant grace of God.

A gentle heart. Thank God God has a gentle heart for all Her children. I crawl up into the lap of God and listen to the steady beating of His gentle heart. I breathe along with the breath of God until our hearts beat as One. I close my eyes and inhale deeply the Oneness, and I fill myself up. Then I slide off my Father/Mother’s lap and prepare to go about my day with a quieter, gentler heart.

“Older”

Prompt: 40 minutes: “Older”
June 17, 2013

Older

Older is a loaded word, a plant growing out of its pot, roots bound together in a clump of experience seeking desperately fresh soil, nutrients, water — that life-giving, liquid oxygen.

Older is not for sissies. No, it takes a bit of bravery, or at least the show of “a stiff upper lip” as my dad would say. “Everything’s super,” he says, when I know he must have aches and pains, feelings of grief and loss somewhere down inside that aging body, now a size small.

Older is watching your parents age, Dad shrinking, Mom getting shorter, rounder. Older is watching myself get rounder, wrinklier, heavier, more tired, less patient inside but more patient in front of youth.

Mom and me at Holden Beach 2011

Mom and me at Holden Beach 2011

Older is the home around me — walls needing paint touch-ups, cobwebs stretching from chair legs to corners, not having moved for months, years.

Older is the dog lying contentedly beside me, an occasional sigh sounding full of resignation perhaps. Or maybe it is just sheer acceptance.

Acceptance. That’s what older requires. Acceptance — of life, people, days gone by, limitations. Really? Or am I just too sleepy this morning to be more upbeat? Maybe older is needing more leisure time to wake up, or maybe it’s having so much leisure time that I don’t “wake up” until the day is well on its way.photo-22

Older is sighing when I don’t feel like making the effort to open my eyes, get out of bed, put the pen down, and go on with my day.

Older is knowing you have surgery in less than four days to remove cancer from your body. Older is looking around the house at the accumulation of a lifetime and just not knowing where to begin to sort it all out. I don’t want those I’ll leave behind to have to do it, yet I’m not ready to burn it, shred it, dispose of it just yet — I might live many more years and wish I could find those notes I took when I was in my 30’s, trying to sort through life. I might want to get inside that young woman’s mind again sometime. Words can take me there.

For now, I think I’ll just close my eyes and rest a bit.

Holiday Habits – Repeating the Sounding Joy?

Well, the tree is up, prelit (LOVE it!), partially decorated, awaiting the arrival of my mother tomorrow and my daughters Saturday to complete the hanging of the traditional ornaments. I’m ready to let go of stuff, like so many of us baby boomers seem to be saying these days. Yet I still collect Christmas tree ornaments from our travels, trying to add ornaments that will offer meaning to my second husband and me as we continue to build our life together, married now for almost 12 years. Yet so many of the ornaments were from my own childhood, and my children’s elementary school years, and evoke sentiments from an earlier time – which I actually cherish remembering as I hang them each year. But, like the rest of our house, our closets, under the beds, the attic, the basement, our tree will be mainly ornaments with snippets of greenery peeking out here and there if I try to hang all of them. It simply does not have room for them all! My house simply does not have room for the new things I purchased in 2010 until I can clean out some of the old and make room for new!

I have always had a sentimental streak that tends to become attached to and hold onto just about anything and everything given to me by my daughters, parents, friends and loved ones. Heck, for that matter for anything that comes in the mail, But my tastes have changed through the years and I have bought and accumulated so many beautiful treasures, that it is really ridiculous! Crazy-making! My own daughters are grown and setting up their own households and I always thought I was saving things for them. But they don’t seem to want much of what I have to offer so far. They prefer to buy new and decorate according to their tastes. So, what to do?

Well, I’ve decided this is the year. The year I will really cull and lighten up. The last three years my New Year’s goals were to “get organized.” I’m still not organized – there simply isn’t enough room anywhere to store any more until I go up into the creaky, dusty, awkward attic and start culling from the top down. Sounds so overwhelming at his point, as I just want to enjoy the holidays and struggle with feelings of overwhelm as I try to plan menus and get food ready for the various family gatherings in the coming weeks. As I wrap and wrap the gifts I just about wore myself out shopping for during the past month. As I carefully write down each gift with its corresponding value before I place it under the tree, trying to treat each child and grandchild fairly.

Having had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia for over 20 years now, shopping has never been my strong suit. When I have been up for shopping, I’ve tended to buy in bulk, or ahead of time, not knowing when I’ll feel like getting out to shop again. So, as usual, this year I started with the after Christmas sales in January 2011 on the random days I happened to have the energy to hit Barnes & Noble, Target, Pier One, and the quaint little shops in downtown Wake Forest. But in July, on our trip to Gloucester, MA, I also started Christmas shopping when I saw unique things that jumped out at me. Still, in November and early December, when I found myself with a little time after a doctor’s appointment near Trader Joe’s, I excitedly filled two carts with stuff for holiday entertaining like wine, candy, appetizers, and stocking stuffers for the kids (and grand-dogs – sheesh!). Then after another appointment, I did the same thing at Whole Foods. And when I “ran into Barnes & Noble to pick up a 2012 date book”, I spent almost 2 hours, mesmerized by the plethora of magazines, matching my family’s interests to titles I didn’t know existed, or had always heard of but not read. And bought $100 worth of gift cards so I could get a $10 gift card promotion at the check-out line, as the last announcement was pronounced over the loud speaker to bring your purchases to the register, inviting me to return when the store opened the next morning. Right. I am not a morning person. Nor a shopper, really. Right.

Someone (I think it was my oldest daughter, wise woman she has become despite my quirky habits) once told me to try to get rid of 10 items for every new item you bring into your home. Well, darn. I’ve got a lot of culling to do in 2012!