Category: Death

Really, Why All The Fear?

Fear-based living. Hate it! Every time I turn around there is some ridiculous, strange, scary, even unheard of thing being reported in the news or on my Facebook feed. People are dying, killed, missing, sick or will be – let’s face it, we’re all doomed.

I actually stopped watching the news and scrolling my social media feeds beyond what’s right at the top quite some time ago.

I don’t know if there are statistics out there on this but is it possible that the top of our feed has all that we need to see at any given moment? Like we see only what we are “supposed to” see for us and our lives? Or we flip TV channels and when we stop on one we see a commercial or news story that resonates with us – do you ever wonder if seeing that particular thing was “meant to be?”

And if not, how do we keep only what we need and discard the rest – especially in this new world of “fake news?”

everything-we-need

I popped on Facebook recently and the first post was that my town is on a local news magazine show for being a “super town,” where you get the most bang for your buck and quality of life – strong community, good schools, green space and urban slant. Great, that’s my home sweet super home. So I clicked the link to see the preview and in the sidebar were all these other stories:

Woman pleads guilty to raping two underage boys. (OY.)

Man kept stolen brain beneath porch, used it to get high, police say.  (REALLY?)

How you can buy a house for $1.00 in Milwaukee. (SURE.)

25-year-old dies while live-streaming on Facebook.  CLICKED IT.

They got me. I clicked one of the links and watched the two-minute video that did not show the actual death (thank goodness,) but told the story, leaving out the most important part. How she died. And get this – nobody went to check on her until 30 minutes after her live stream crashed!

I wondered if it was a fake story so of course I googled it, it wasn’t fake. I didn’t click any more, I closed my browser and felt kinda sick. I was sick anyway, my third round of some plague that keeps recycling in our family. This makes me pretty upset because I do all I can to stay healthy: self-care, yoga, meditation, eat right, take very expensive all-natural daily vitamins, I wash my hands constantly and Purell at every turn, especially during flu season. Why? I fear the plague. I don’t get a flu shot – it’s not one-size-fits-all (google it,) and until this year rarely got the “flu.” I am not even sure it’s the actual flu, or a reasonable facsimile. But I’ll check the top of my Facebook feed to find out.

Yep, we live in a world where fear rules and while I don’t want to, part of me resides there. I bet we all do and just don’t talk about it.

Seriously. She was 25! 

 

peace

It’s Easy To Say Self-Care But Pretty Hard To Do

If there’s one thing to be said about my family, it’s that we are adept in a crisis. I hate to say it, but it’s our strong point. Maybe that’s good, although it comes from a long history of crisis control, which is not a good way to live.

griefWhen a good friend unexpectedly died recently, first the shock of her death overtook us all. My boys jumped right in to support of her son – their close friend – who lost his mom, and I did the same with her whole family. It was natural to us.

Then I realized a few days later, that I “took it on.” I mean seriously took it on – as if she were a member of my own family, or close enough that I needed to participate in a hands-on way. I felt “attached” to it, an automatic internal response to deeply feel the situation as if it were my own. Pretty overwhelming.

Sure I was emotional – it was very upsetting. Back in the day she was one of my closest friends. But we hadn’t seen each other in a while, although was in my heart and recently on my mind. And as sad as I was, she wasn’t my family. I could feel my own sadness without automatically feeling her family’s sadness too.

I thought about her son – who is the same age as my son – and how my son might feel if I had suddenly died. Everyone does that to some degree, we put ourselves in others shoes and our empathy naturally surfaces when we hear about tragedy. But I’m so used to having tragedy in my life, I only knew how to respond as if this was my own crisis. I actually didn’t have to take it on the way I did.

calm-lifeWhen I noticed this for the first time the day before her wake, the message was loud and clear. This is someone else’s tragedy and I could feel it differently. At arms length. I could think about this situation from an outside perspective, and even respond to it that way.

No to mention, I also had my own personal stuff going on that required my attention at the same time. I almost couldn’t deal with the timing of her funeral and my personal needs on the same couple of days. My sons too. They wanted to go, but they had their own priorities that could not be ignored. And they were ok with supporting their friend from afar, that was the best that they could do.

There’s a fine line between self-care and self-sacrifice. It’s a tricky balance that often feels difficult to achieve depending on our life circumstances, and conditioning. Not to mention it takes practice.

I recently read a “doctor’s orders” prescription for self-care:

Rest when you are tired. Do something fun every day. Breathe deeply. Absorb the Divine healing stream. Mother yourself well. And of course – enjoy life. (Because sometimes, as we are quickly reminded, life can be too short.)

The paradox is that while self-care may feel selfish, it’s the only way to care for or help others in their times of need ~ the last and most heartfelt message I will ever have from my friend.

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A Name Is Worth A Thousand Words, A Friend Is Worth Forever

When the nurse called my name to take me back into surgical waiting for a minor procedure, my heart skipped a beat. “Dorothea” she said, looking directly at me since no one else was in the waiting room. “You mean Deborah?” I said. “Oh yes, Deborah. Sorry I thought it said Dorothea.”

That normally would have meant nothing – mispronouncing my name. But it mattered then, because my friend Dorothea just died — and her wake was that exact evening. Clear out of the blue, boom, dead just a few days earlier. And the nurse called out her name.

angel-starsIf that doesn’t make you believe in angels, or some sort of cosmic Divine, not sure what would. I could tell you about my bathroom light flickering like crazy although the bulb wasn’t burned out just as she was crossing realms and I didn’t know it. Or how I heard her voice talk to me as if she were right there next to me. Maybe she was.

I was sitting at a stop light adjacent to my son’s preschool, where he went 20 years ago, and could hear the wee ones playing on the playground, just like it sounded back then. It was an Indian Summer day, sun shining, the leaves on the tree-lined street turning shades of beautiful autumn. I closed my eyes and let the breeze drift through the car window as I waited, listened, and remembered.

“I’m ok Debbie. I’m ok” she said.

friends-for-reasonThat’s where I met my friend Dorothea – Dottie. We were young moms, similar in age, our boys were in the same preschool class. They became fast friends, and so did we. We spent the next decade as BFFs, just like our kids, and even our husbands.

When I opened my Facebook last week to quickly check messages there was the post by her son, only minutes old at the top of my feed. I burst into tears. It was visceral, I didn’t even know where it came from. I fell out of touch with her a few years ago, not by choice, sometimes life just gets so crazy. She was now divorced, I was now remarried, our boys are all grown up.

But I was excited to see her again – when we recently moved back home we were going to reconnect. Not anymore, I didn’t get the chance to say hello…or goodbye. This circle of life thing is something. But it is what it is. And life is life, in all of it’s joy, sorrow and baffling unpredictability.

true-friendsI wasn’t sure what to do with it. I have never experienced the death of a friend. Loss of friends, sure, but as cliche as this sounds, with life there is hope. Although I hate cliches, especially when there is some kind of tragedy. Like there is nothing but the present moment. We all know this, intellectually we all know tomorrow is only a promise (another one,) but let’s be honest. Who really lives like that?

They’re not really sure what happened, and I will never know. I just knew my old friend who had a big smile and an infectious laugh. Someone who loved her son more than life itself. Someone who was there with me for a lot of years, in all of our unrefined glory.

Anyway, peace to you dear friend. And as they say, life goes on.

 

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If We Believe And Say We Will Live Forever, It’s Possible We Will

I’m working on a magazine story about this guy who is all about classic TV – those fun shows from the 1950s and 60s that started out in black and white and ended their runs in color. He lives in LA and has been connected to television for decades – as a writer, producer, you name it. He has also written several books about all the great shows and their stars, including Bewitched, which safe to say is an all-time favorite.

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eliz montgomerySo we were talking about his time with the late Elizabeth Montgomery who played Samantha – the happy witch who married a mortal on Bewitched. Not only was she beautiful on and off screen, but in her series she was immortal.

And at one point I asked him his age, which is a typical question for a profile feature going into a magazine whose readership is over age 55. This was his answer:  “I’m immortal.”

Oh.  <pause>  Oh??  (I thought he might be jesting because of his love for Samantha and Bewitched.)

“When I say I’m immortal instead of saying my age, the body doesn’t age. I also don’t have birthdays because they mark the time going by. Instead, I just tell my body how much I love it every day and it doesn’t age.”

He was serious.

This is not the first time I have heard someone say that. I heard Oprah talk about it on one of her Super Soul Sunday episodes. Dr. Christiane Northrup talks about it all the time, and even wrote a book called Goddesses Never Age. She’s on a mission to bring agelessness to the front table. A lot of health experts are – especially those who are promoting a whole-health approach to medicine – functional, integrative health that is based in ancient wisdom traditions.

I have thought about not addressing my age, or celebrating my birthday, but I love birthdays, so it goes against my grain. Does that mean then I’m not immortal?

This gentleman’s words keep ringing in my mind as I work through each day wincing from physical sensations brought on by chronic pain, fatigue and various petty ailments. Is it really possible to never age? And if so, what does that really mean?

Deepak Chopra (preeminent thinker and MD) says aging and dying are not only part of life but really important ones. If no one aged or died we would live in a stagnant universe where nothing ever changed, ever. The thought of that is actually a little scary I guess.

goddesses never ageHe says biological aging is real no matter what. We are going to age, we are going to die. But studies now show that our beliefs and thinking can have a tremendous positive impact on the experience of aging. In other words, we’ve learned health and aging are not genetically pre-determined, it’s our beliefs, conscious choices and our focus that can decrease not only the aging process, but our biological (not chronological,) age.

Apparently it’s truly how we think about it, because we now know that our mind heavily influences our physical cells which makes aging – and even our health – changeable. Pretty cool.

Whether we believe in immortality or not, and on a soul-level I totally do, the recipe is the same.

A big dose of optimism, plus a big spoonful of positive beliefs, combined with a whopping amount of healthy behaviors and a heap of heartfelt focus and love equals agelessness.

And sprinkle of magic never hurts too.

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Love, Fear and the News Make the World Go ‘Round

Life can feel hard enough, let alone when pre-coffee your husband says the news is really bad today. Yea, it’s always bad, what the heck happened now.

heart loveIt wasn’t like the last couple of weeks have been particularly soothing for us, when you’re selling your house all kinds of stressful stuff abounds. I thought we had finally caught our breath, the contract is now signed. I seriously have no room for more discomfort to process. I’m tired and am trying to get us moved out of state.

But due to the latest event – the mass shooting in Orlando – we had to pay attention. It’s getting harder and harder to go about our daily business when the world outside the front door doesn’t really feel safe.

I’m not a newshound like my husband, he was in that business for many years and in cases like this would have gone in to handle the breaking news. Not this time thankfully since his new job is outside of a media outlet.

But it didn’t change the fact that we were bombarded with the information from the moment we got up. It’s horrible news. In fact, after a couple hours I finally turned it off, despite my civic responsibility to be informed. I didn’t want to know the details of the latest gruesome event, it’s just so hard to absorb.

Most of us are TV bystanders to these ongoing horrible happenings, and there’s not a whole lot we can do. We can say something on social media to support the victims, we can donate or volunteer, we can do our part to keep both ourselves and our community as safe as we can.

That’s really where it all starts – with us. I’m not an expert, but it seems that so many people live from a place of deep fear inside themselves. We are afraid on many levels. Of what?

no slave to fearCorruption of government officials, according to Time magazine. That fear truly puts our personal power in the hands of someone else. Terrorism, identity theft, economic collapse – these are all valid concerns. Apparently 40 percent of our population is afraid of aliens or the paranormal. It’s not like we have any control over them if they do exist.

Gallup poll says we are afraid of snakes, public speaking, heights and claustrophobia. Ok that national survey did not say a thing about guns or racists or gays. I have a heartstring in the Orlando shooting event. My dad came out of the closet when I was 18. We had our differences through the years, but him being gay wasn’t one of them. I may be a rare individual, but I truly do not judge who other people choose to love. He is quite a cool dude – he’s open-minded, open-hearted, and just open to the love that life can bring.

There are really only two feelings in the world. Love and fear. These are the two things that motivate us – everything we think, feel, say and do. Love expands, fear contracts. Love is positive, fear is negative. Love is awesome, fear isn’t. But most of us live from fear. The problem is when it overtakes a person, a group and a culture. The mentality is contagious and toxic. Hence the world we live in.

I wish more people would live from love – that would be great news.

♥♥♥

LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL (fear is conditional)

LOVE IS STRONG (fear is weak)

love is all you needLOVE RELEASES (fear obligates)

LOVE SURRENDERS (fear binds)

LOVE IS HONEST (fear is deceitful)

LOVE TRUSTS (fear suspects)

LOVE ALLOWS (fear dictates)

LOVE GIVES (fear resists)

LOVE FORGIVES (fear blames)

LOVE IS COMPASSIONATE (fear pities)

LOVE CHOOSES (fear avoids)

LOVE IS KIND (fear is angry)

LOVE IGNITES (fear incites)

LOVE EMBRACES (fear repudiates)

LOVE CREATES (fear negates)

LOVE HEALS (fear hurts)

LOVE IS MAGIC (fear is superstitious)

LOVE ENERGIZES (fear saps)

LOVE IS AN ELIXIR (fear is a poison)

LOVE INSPIRES (fear worries)

LOVE DESIRES (fear dislikes)

LOVE IS PATIENT (fear is frustrated)

LOVE IS BRAVE (fear is afraid)

LOVE IS RELAXED (fear is pressured)

LOVE IS BLIND (fear is judgmental)

LOVE RESPECTS (fear disregards)

LOVE ACCEPTS (fear rejects)

LOVE DREAMS (fear schemes)

LOVE PLAYS (fear controls)

LOVE ENJOYS (fear suffers)

LOVE FREES (fear imprisons)

LOVE BELIEVES (fear deceives)

LOVE “WANTS” (fear “needs”)

From Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Complex Lives

be the change

When Our Number Is Up It’s Up, But Do We Write The Ending?

It seems that people are having trouble staying alive. I don’t know if we just hear about untimely deaths more because of our 24/7 media melange, or if it’s really happening more than ever. From music icons to right in our neighbor’s backyard, people are moving on, and earlier than imagined.

fireflies

I got a message from a good friend, who shared that her best friend was suddenly killed while chopping down a tree to have wood for heat next winter. Preparing cords of wood for the following winter is a common practice where we live. A state filled with hunters and choppers, Mainers are hearty, tough, and skilled at taking care of things “naturally.” Their friend knew what he was doing, and was prepared. But the tree hit his head in the tiny location unshielded by his helmet. Nobody can be prepared for that.

The same day that I heard about my friend’s best friend, I came across an old photo of my great aunt, long since gone. The photo may be close to a hundred years old, she stands alone in her wedding dress. It’s ironic, because shortly after she was married, she came home from work to find her young husband murdered in what appeared to be a case of mistaken identity in a botched mob-hit. I can’t even imagine what living that horror was like. And she went on to live a long life. She never re-married, not sure I blame her.

every end is a newObviously life and death are conjoined. We’re born, we die. And while we intellectually understand that, nobody really wants to consider their demise. It’s hard to wrap our brains around the concept, so we grapple with understanding and ways to feel okay about it. That’s where it gets really personal.

I’m of the spiritual school that we are Divine souls shelled by a physical form that is an extension of God/Source/Spirit/All and we write our story before we take shape, planning it all out from beginning to end. We go back to infinite soul-form when “it’s time,” or when “we’re done” and we are not really “dead,” we are back “home” in an angelic, celebratory, timeless Divine way. I also believe we can utilize astrological patterns and exercise free will both on earth and to transition.

But as humans, we have this sort-of one dimensional perspective that doesn’t tangibly show us everything we wish we could see to be comfortable with not staying physically alive. Is it possible that my friend’s best friend wrote his very death chopping down a tree at the exact age he was? Of course he wouldn’t “remember” that, but isn’t there an All-Knowing that does? I can’t imagine that my great-uncle, who I never knew, would choose to be murdered accidentally. But who knows.

I had a younger sister, I don’t remember her, my parents never talked about her. I was perhaps three years old when she died. She was born with a hole in her heart, and back then they couldn’t fix that. I think she’s my guardian angel, and I often make up stories about her – ones maybe we wrote together in the ether whenever ago.

I put the old photo of my great-aunt on our antique glass bookcase. Every time I look at it I wonder – where is she now? Where are they all now? One thing I do know…love never dies, it only changes form.

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Ps… This photo shows the veil I wrote about in my previous day’s post… the veil I saved in my storage box with the letters to my boys.  http://whatfairytale.com/2016/05/01/in-a-box-of-heir…at-really-matter/

 

 

A Note About My Friend And Her Li’l Bug

 

This is my friend Alison.

Alison

 

She’s an artist. And really tall.

 

Alison grew up with her family along the coastal shores of Maine. She spent a lot of time outside in nature and with her father on a boat on the sea.

Alison and dad

Once upon a time Alison decided to be an artist when she couldn’t stop drawing and coloring all the creatures that were part of her natural environment, especially the ones in the ocean. From this love, her Festive Fish business was born. Her motto – color your life happy!

FF_HomePg_MainImg

I met her a while ago when I worked in the little Main Street bookstore in our village. We sold her colorful cards and calendars depicting simple, sweet and animated fish, lobsters, shells, and natural designs born from her bright imagination.

She told me a lot of stories about her life along the shore, and how her artwork was not just part of her life, but an extension of her heart and soul. One day she told me a story about a time that changed her life. But it was very sad. Tragic in fact. Clear out of the blue only a short time before we met, her father was diagnosed with cancer and it changed Alison’s life forever. As she held her father’s hand until he could not hold on any longer, she closely watched what it is like to experience terminal illness.

And Li’l Bug was born.

Alison told me all about Bug, and his long journey when he found out he was dying.

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Alison worked and worked on bringing Li’l Bug’s story to life in memory and honor of her father, who she missed so very much. Sometimes she woke up in the middle of the night and wrote down what Li’l Bug wanted to say. Sometimes she worked through the night drawing and coloring what Li’l Bug wanted to share. She even sewed Li’l Bug and he sat by her side day and night inspiring Alison to keep going, even when she felt like she couldn’t.

Finally, Li’l Bug’s special story became a real book, that Alison did all by herself. It’s safe to say that blood, sweat, and tears went into this project, one that helped Alison evolve her beautiful soul through gut-wrenching loss and grief.

Alison took her brand new book to her father’s grave, sat Li’l Bug down next to her, and read the story out loud. And now she would like others to hear his story. It’s a tale of true inspiration that reminds us to live our best life in spite of what life hands us. It shines a bright light on the importance of enjoying the time we have when we don’t have much time. It helps those going through medical trauma learn to feel peace. And while its message is especially wonderful for children, it’s filled with wisdom for adults too.

I wanted to share the bravery of my friend Alison, who listened to her heart and embarked on a difficult journey to heal, with the hope of helping others. It took a lot of patience and a lot of guts, and I watched her bring it from imagination to reality over the last two years. She never gave up or quit even when it got really tough. Congratulations Alison, and thank you.

Bug in a jar

Festive Fish Home Page

Marriage of My Dreams, In-Laws of My Nightmares

Should a mother-in-law be allowed in the delivery room? A roundtable discussion on the Today Show prickled up some spines. The answer is strictly personal, I had a couple of friends eating McDonald’s next to me when I delivered one of my boys. But my mother-in-law? No way. I’ve had two, neither of whom I adored. And the feeling is quite mutual, although the first one has since passed away.

All families have issues, sometimes personality mismatch is status quo. But occasionally it’s so extreme, defying all understanding, that we are left to assume there is some Divine lesson to be learned. Sir Husband and I pay attention to that. A few in our lives do not.

peas in a podEverybody’s got an in-law story, and they usually resonate the same: troublesome tale of two women and a poor man in the middle. But not in our case. We have three peas in a pod – Sir Husband’s mother, his ex and his sister united on a warpath of hatred and anger, against both him and me.

Many wives since the beginning of time use the old cliche, my mother-in-law is a piece of work. But can they say she disowned her son and his family because she loves her ex-daughter-in-law more and admits it? Ours is a wicked story of some unhappy fems who live from deep misery.

It goes something like this. A long time ago, a kind man with a good heart and sensible head lost his senses one day and on the rebound, married a woman he did not love. Shortly after they were married she revealed herself to be a broken soul, and manipulated him to the death to get anything she wanted.

He tried hard to stay with her, but his unhappiness grew. And his mother knew it too. She insisted he work even harder, so that is what he did. He never meandered out of their marriage, but longed for relief from his loveless misery so much that when he looked in the mirror every morning he hoped for cancer to die and get away. That’s pretty sad. Eventually he left. And his mother never forgave him.

That’s my mother-in-law. A not-so-lovely woman who decided that her son was not worth his own happiness. What kind of mother is that?

edgar allen poeBut that is only the beginning. I’ll leave out all the ugly gore – from hurt and harassment to helping alienate Sir Husband’s children from our lives – we now understand the meaning of “shunned.” No matter how hard we’ve tried to both communicate and understand, we are blatantly ignored and years later are still left shaking our heads.

So we’re done. At some point emotional toxicity just becomes too great, even when it’s family. We’ve worked hard to come to peace with it – nobody deserves this kind of treatment, especially from their own mother and in-law. It’s clear she’s got her own issues, that stem from something deep.

There are two great things that rule us. Love and fear. And we will do anything when under their spells. When people are triggered by their deepest fears they lash out, and project those fears onto the people who triggered them. It doesn’t excuse hurtful, hostile, abusive, violent actions, but it helps explain it. The problem is that living from fear comes with a terribly high price. Sir Husband’s father died of cancer at age 62.

I only knew my deceased father-in-law as the father of my high school best boy-friend a long time ago. Sir Husband and I go way back to years of really good times. In fact, we believe in angels, and think his father helped us reunite. We’re sure if he was still alive, he would welcome me now, and have some strong words with his wife.

It’s a shame my mother-in-law is so unhappy. And while we feel like we’ve lost some family, Sir Husband and I choose to live from love and not fear, which is infinitely a better spell.

 

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Who Writes Our Life Story? Us Or Life Itself?

I jump on and off Facebook throughout the day to “check in.” On what, I’m never sure. I guess it’s to see what’s going on in the world and with people I know. It’s a way to keep up with all the stories.

Life is really nothing more than a story. We all have a life story, and how that gets told isn’t always up to us.

After a quick trip to the grocery the other day, I put everything away then habitually and mindlessly got on Facebook. I glanced at notifications then scrolled through the top of my feed. That’s when somebody’s story really caught my eye. She had just died.

It was shocking. She was my neighbor and friend growing up and we had fallen out of touch. But her obituary was right there sharing her story in living color.

I quickly went to her wall. What happened? She was my age, with children. This is it – we want to know the whole story. I read posts written both to her and about her, and tried to put the pieces together. She had been fighting a brutal battle with the flu and pneumonia, that she didn’t win.

It got me thinking about her life…and death…story. During high school she was a brave girl who battled mighty demons. But that never stopped her soul from shining brightly. She went on to transform her struggles into a career giving back to others as a successful nurse, devoted mother, wife and loving friend. Her story tells of a woman who embraced joy and walked in the light regardless of life’s shadows.

We all have our own theories about life and death. Science or spiritual, religious or philosophical, we lean on our own adaptation to help us understand.

portal

I personally believe that we write our own stories before we transcend into our bodies and are born. Maybe our souls, in whatever form they reside, sit around and write how we can evolve in the lifetime and body we choose to enter. Somehow that is comforting to me. I’m a writer – a storyteller – and I’m guessing my friend’s soul wrote how it would end.

The question is, did she love her story? Or did she check out because she was worn down? We hear stories all the time about people who have been married for 50 years and when one spouse dies, the other follows shortly thereafter.

That’s the other question – when we’re hovering on the brink of life and death – what pushes us one way or the other? People come back from the dead all the time and have some interesting stories about the other side.

Our story matters. It’s a legacy of sorts. And whether we keep it to ourselves or expose ourselves on social media, it’s going to be told somehow or another by the simple fact we don’t live in isolation. If we think about it, our lives are “out there” on a regular basis, even after we’re gone.

So we might want to think about our narrative, the one always running in our head and the one we opt to share. Because our story is the only thing that sticks with us forever.

 

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Self-Awareness Starts in Our Own Corner of the World

I had a whole post written but not yet published about self-awareness and hurtful people, just prior to the news about the terrorist attacks in Brussels. My words seemed irrelevant at first, as I watched the frightening images and flooding fear. We are all directly connected to this whether we want to be or not. And as our world continues on its horrific destructive path, I realized that what I wrote a day ahead of the surprise attacks was not only relevant, but necessary, even timely.

It began with a stark contradiction from one morning to the next.

The seasons changed and with spring came several inches of snow. Spring snow is different, with its big, fluffy flakes and a billowy softness like milkweed seeds wafting through the air with no rhyme or reason. As it landed it piled on the ground with such lightness you could almost blow it away with your breath. I didn’t mind its silent, peaceful fall and swift departure. It melted off the pavement when the sun peeked out a few hours later.

We are ready for a steady, warm spring in both temperature and bloom, although there isn’t much life poking up from the ground nor a change in the landscape yet. Even the ocean is still frosty grey, the shoreline wintery at best.

This prickly feel is like the mood and temperament of many people. I am not alone in the ongoing struggle dealing with difficult people – some of whom I don’t even know. I’m afraid to watch the news – disasters waiting to happen that get worse every day. Then there are those in our own circles whose antics leave us suffocating in a cloud of toxic vapor.

It’s safe to assume that people won’t change. This is especially hard when the people we want – or even need to change – are mandatorily part of our lives. The irony is we can’t change anyone, only ourselves. That’s the whole Jesus-Buddha love thing that the world really needs. But not everyone can be like Jesus…or Buddha…or even the Dalai Lama or the Pope.

I read a blog post by a good friend of mine who said although her thoughts were turning to planting spring flowers and vegetables and all things green, bitterness is prevalent in her life. She said the growing hatred and anger in our world not only makes her her feel grumpy, but these weeds of bitterness have spread into her own life. Yet she was clear in her awareness – especially of herself and her ability to feel peaceful in the face of upset, and reinstate her own joy. That’s the key. Self-awareness.

We go around and around trying to escape people in our lives who have no clue they are doing huge damage to others from a lack of self-awareness. We fight it, we try to shield ourselves from it, but it seeps in with such force there’s often no escape. One encounter can leave us overwhelmingly depleted, and as my friend describes, literally choked by the weeds. 

What do we do when we are surrounded by hurtful people and we can’t muster up some Godlike kind-of love to endure, or when we can’t get away? It’s hard to remember in the moment that people who outwardly hurt others, hurt inside themselves. They lash out from their own inner turmoil, which usually has nothing to do with us – although they willingly place blame.

So we are left to just breathe and turn up our own self-awareness. First we remind ourselves that we don’t deserve to be mistreated and then we become mindful of what we choose to plant. 

My friend said it best: “I can show love to those who spread hate. Stay calm in the face of anger. Sew seeds of hope to those who lost hope, joy to those who need a smile, and peace to those who need calm. I can’t change the world, but I can start in my corner. Most importantly, I can never let those seeds die within me.”

What else can we do when faced with terrorism on a world level, or even a personal one. As if by premonition, wisdom flows – through the voices of many.

All that Life asks is that you move through Life with a reverence for Life.   Yet this reverence for Life must be displayed in all things.   Even in the littlest things. Perhaps especially so.   How you treat other Life forms does matter.   It says something about how you want Life to be.  ~ Neale Donald Walsch 

 

Many thanks to my beautiful friend Nancy Predmore for sharing her thoughts and words.

heart change

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