Remind yourself to be HAPPY!

Yesterday I forgot that I’m happy.

I forgot that I’m a good person. I allowed someone else’s opinion of my actions to let me forget that I am happy. I allowed this person to convince me that the stories they’ve been told, the half truths they’ve been allowed to see, and the very limited communication they’ve had with me is the truth.  The truth is that because I’m happy, I have no need or desire to make someone else unhappy.  This person however is very unhappy.  This person is reaching out to something and someone they think will make them happy, only to realize it’s actually making them miserable. And because they’re unhappy, they want me to be unhappy.  It took me a moment to realize this because I was just as unhappy not too long ago, and it’s easy for me to slip back into that unhappiness… but I’m not there anymore.

Yesterday I forgot that I’m happy.

I forgot that I have a right and an obligation to myself to be happy.  That standing up for myself doesn’t translate into I’m hurting someone else, because that’s not who I am. I’m allowed to be happy.  I’m allowed to be safe.  I’m allowed to be treated with respect. But I allowed someone to convince me for a second that I don’t deserve honesty.  I allowed someone else to manipulate me into letting my guard down. For half a second, I actually considered it my obligation to help them, after all the hurt I’ve endured from them. But when I allow myself to be happy, I can get honesty, respect and safety. I let myself be drug down the rabbit hole of manipulation, lies and abuse because that is familiar territory.  It’s so cool that I’m not there anymore.

Yesterday I forgot that I’m happy.

I forgot how miserable I am when I let my anger control me. I let myself feel all the anger, the hatred, the raw emotional scars I’ve been working very hard to heal. I let my anger take me places I never want to go-EVER.  Because when I’m angry, it’s never directed outward, it’s always internal. I don’t blame the other person, I blame myself for letting myself get angry. The anger spirals into something morbid and I end up wanting to hurt myself for being so stupid, so easily manipulated, so vulnerable and so blind.  But it was in those dark moments that I remember what a useful tool anger can be when it’s directed positively toward protecting myself. My eyes are open. I can see that there is a path in front of me and that every time I take a step backwards, I’m going to end up unhappy.  So I take a step forward, happy not to be there anymore.

So today… today I remember that I’m happy.  I remember that happiness is a choice.  I remember that I control my own happiness. I know someone is going to read this and think- she’s in denial.  But maybe my denial was thinking that I could change the forces that were feeding my unhappiness. Maybe the denial was thinking I could cure what was wrong. Maybe the denial is thinking I’ll ever get an apology or understanding or even honesty from certain people.  Happy is knowing that none of those things matter.  I’m not delusional, stuck in a Polly-Anna attitude, with a fake smile plastered across my face. I’m walking into my new life with my eyes wide open. I’m not focusing on repairing my past or getting revenge for those who’ve wronged me. I’m focused on what’s here, now and within my power.  I’m happy.  I’m happy to be alive, awake and aware. When the obstacles come, and they will, I know I’ve been given the tools, the strength and the knowledge to overcome them.

I’m ready to be showered with happiness! I’m ready for doors to be opened to me.  I’m ready for good things in my life.

BECAUSE I’M HAPPY!

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The end of the 30 Day Challenge-

Some of you may remember that I challenged myself to 30 days of photos… to find the beauty around me.  I used my phone to upload all of these photos to Instagram, (http://instagram.com/acherry67) Here is what I found beautiful;

IMG_20131224_112920 IMG_20131224_154728 IMG_20131225_113348 IMG_20131225_130125 IMG_20131230_122530 IMG_20140103_144323 IMG_20140103_145312 IMG_20140104_082703 IMG_20140105_114026 IMG_20140106_112011 IMG_20140109_095934 IMG_20140109_185450 IMG_20140110_193129 IMG_20140111_141026 IMG_20140113_104426 IMG_20140114_194419 IMG_20140116_203611 IMG_20140117_094031 IMG_20140118_191852 IMG_20140119_080010 IMG_20140119_132538 IMG_20140122_111948 IMG_20140124_161522 IMG_20140124_162406 IMG_20140125_172934 IMG_20140125_185730 IMG_20140127_104357 IMG_20140128_164847 IMG_20140129_103051 IMG_20140129_111618 IMG_20140130_095436

The really great thing about this challenge was that it forced me to really look for the beauty in my life.  And when you find beautiful things around you, your life feels filled with beauty. Even on those days when it felt really ugly, just finding that one beautiful thing made me feel better. The law of attraction at work! So as a new month begins I’ve decided to try a new theme.  Since it’s February, I’m thinking my theme should be LOVE.

Starting tomorrow, I will be taking photos of Love… which I’m hoping will help me bring the love back to my life!

 

I am here… right HERE!

This week didn’t go according to my plan.  I have heard the saying, tell God your plans and you’ll hear him laugh and laugh.  I feel as though God has been laughing at me all week- actually for the last couple of weeks.  I did something, to protect myself, based on past fears.  I had plans to carry out this thing to protect myself by enlisting the help of others.  Because wires got crossed and communication with those in authority was misleading, this thing didn’t happen.  I still don’t know why it hasn’t happened, and I’ve been struggling all week with why.

I know I’m being vague, and that’s purposeful.  It’s a private issue, but something that has become a more public event.  This was where the problems began.  The first problem was miscommunication about how the event needed to be scheduled.  Once it was scheduled further miscommunication kept it from happening.  After that it was my job to deliver the event to the right place. Despite being told the event could happen in the new location, further miscommunication kept it from  happening.  To make it happen in the new location would have taken great effort on my part, effort I was prepared to make the effort until my engine light came on.  So now, now I wait.

My friend suggested that this is purposeful.  That the Universe/God has other plans and by delaying this event, there must be a reason.  I can’t find the reason.  I’ve been moping about all week, trying to figure out the reason.  I may never know the reason, and I suppose I have to be okay with that.  But not having the event happen, being thwarted at every turn really, made me take a look at it all.  And by all I mean my life- and the fears, anger, self-doubt and isolation I’ve been living with for a long time.

I’ve done a really good job of hiding- from myself, from my family and from friends.  I’ve done a really good job of making it seem okay for everyone else, while I struggled daily with the darkness.  My defense mechanism has been avoidance, and it finally became clear last night.  It all come to a head with a simple meal.

I made this last night-

chili wafflesI

It is cornbread waffles, topped with chili con carne, Fritos, sour cream and cheddar cheese, with a Hefeweizen beer.  Now it may not seem like a big deal, it’s a meal like many other meals I’ve had in my life. It feels strange to suggest that cornbread waffles with chili was a spiritual awakening for me, but it kind of was. The first thing to consider is that is comprised of things I normally don’t like or avoid eating.  On the surface of it all, I don’t care for chili, I avoid making waffles, and I haven’t had a beer in over 14 years.

Why? Well, I’m very particular about chili- I hate beans in my chili, and I don’t like it too spicy, so if I eat it, which isn’t often I always make it myself.  I’ve avoided making waffles because for a while waffles were a tradition in my marriage.  And I don’t like the taste of most beers, and I have very little respect for American beers.  So last night was a fluke of sorts.  I had a dear friend who had made this dish herself a few months back and suddenly cornbread waffles was a goal to achieve.  It sounded good, so I even went out and bought a new waffle maker, with the express purpose of making cornbread waffles at some point.  But like my week, I kept putting it off… fear, doubt, or lack of confidence in it tasting good, however I kept myself from it, I did.

Then yesterday, after putting it off for all of the reasons I could think of, not liking chili, waffles being a forgotten tradition, and beer not tasting good- I ignored my fears and had one of the best meals I’ve had in a very long time.  And that is when I discovered the transformative power of facing  your fears!

Nothing wrong with making my own chili- I know how I like it and it’s comforting in it’s own way, I don’t have to avoid eating chili just because I don’t like anyone else’s. Waffles may have been a long forgotten tradition, but now they’re my tradition, my waffles are far better than the waffles of my past.  And I quit drinking beer because someone else couldn’t handle drinking, I can have a good beer if I want to now.  And I like a good Hefeweizen. So aside from being a really delicious meal, I learned a little about myself- that I no longer have to avoid things because of my past experiences.  I can do something for me, about me and that is good for me without having to worry about who it affects.  This is my life and it’s time I started living it for myself!

I think it’s about time I learned and accepted that I’m here… where I’m meant to be, when I’m meant to be.  When it’s time to move on… I can and will.

Following Bliss

ladybug tattooI had an amazing conversation with two really amazing women in the last 24 hours, that I hope felt as amazing to them as it did for me.  I won’t get into the specifics, because I don’t have permission to discuss that, but I left both conversations feeling at peace.  Both of these amazing women had concerns about their lives.  One came to me because she was feeling bombarded by negativity and the other because she was feeling overwhelmed by a relationship.  The amazing thing for me was that both of these women have inspired me by their strength, and both came to me in what others would call a weak moment.  They both trusted me, they both felt they could learn something by discussing it with me, and they both taught me something. If that is not true strength, I don’t know what is.  Being open, being vulnerable and trusting another human being is the most powerful thing any of us can do- and they did it with me!  I’m honored.

After listening for the first few minutes of them “outlining” the problems they were facing I felt overwhelmed with them!  I said to them both- “How are you doing this? How are you able to get out of bed in the morning? OMG, that’s a lot!” The great thing about my friendship with both of these women is that they understood what I was asking, which wasn’t- how are you doing this, but rather- why?

I think they both answered the question in a similar way- “Because it’s my responsibility.”  I asked again- why? Both of my friends are giving people.  They see someone in pain and they do everything they can to lift them up.  But as many of us, especially me, are learning sometimes you can’t lift everyone up.  Sometimes we have to realize that the person we’re trying to lift up is far more comfortable lying where they’ve fallen.

I found myself saying, for them and myself, “What that person or what those people think of you is none of your business.”  It sounds great saying it, but it’s harder to live with in practice. I know people who say- “I don’t give a *insert curse word* what anybody thinks of me.”  Which is fantastic, but often it’s their way of placing themselves apart and away from others.  We’re communal beings, we have to belong somewhere.  We all want to belong, and base our belonging on the opinion of others.  But in my personal experience I’ve too often allowed broken, fearful, angry people to influence whether I felt I belonged.  Why?  If they’re broken, angry, fearful-they don’t feel as though they belong either, so it’s a bit like the blind leading the blind. There was a belief- especially women- that if we can fix this broken person in our life, we’ll somehow fix our own brokeness.  If only it really worked that way!

I’m still learning how this works, but what I’ve discovered thus far is that I belong.  Let me repeat that- I BELONG!  I belong to me, to the human race, to God/Universe/Spirit.   That is a bond, a belonging that can’t compare to any human bond.  And because I belong what one individual thinks, says or does to disconnect me from that belief is their way of belonging.  Some people truly believe (and I could easily include my past self in this group) that if you aren’t miserable, you can’t be my friend.  Misery loves company, because that means you understand what I’ve been through, you can relate, we belong together, our bond is pain and suffering. And if one of us starts to feel better, starts to be less miserable, for the one who’s still stuck in the misery it feels like a betrayal.  When in reality it’s a call to uphold our responsibility of AMAZINGNESS.

It is not our responsibility to stay in misery, it is our responsibility to be what God/Universe/Spirit intended us to be which is AMAZING! Our amazing-ness doesn’t diminish anyone else’s, but when we are in pain, fear or misery-it feels as if it does. This is what some experts would call lack mentality. When we are in misery, someone being AMAZING is just a reminder of our disconnect, our lack of that real bond with ourselves, the human race, God/Universe/Spirit.  It’s a reminder that we’re not living up to our responsibility to be AMAZING.  I don’t know about you, but being reminded that I’m not being AMAZING can make me feel worse- especially if I don’t believe I’m AMAZING in the first place.

So here is what I hope I’ve learned, and what I told my friend about being friends with people who are disconnected from their AMAZING-NESS.  When you are connected with your amazingness, you’re speaking a language that is foriegn to them. Imagine if you woke up tomorrow and everyone around you was speaking Chinese.  You would have two choices, learn Chinese or seek out people who are speaking your language.  When we are in pain, we often find it more comfortable to seek out those who speak the language we know, rather than take the time to learn a new one. We don’t realize that both require the same amount of effort, we just can’t imagine learning a new language.  As someone who can speak both languages we have to make a choice.  We can continue to speak the old language, which often times pulls us back or we can choose to speak both languages, or we can choose to only speak the new language.  We each make the choice that is best for us, and we can’t make that choice for someone else.

I often say, “If I can’t be a good example, I’ll have to settle for being a dire warning.” What people think of us doesn’t matter, because if I’m living my life for me/God/Univers/Spirit… I’m neither a good example or a dire warning, I’m simply following my BLISS.

What does prayer mean to you?

Prayer

So I should ask…what does prayer mean to you?

For some people prayer means asking God for something, thanking God for something or maybe acknowledging something in someone else.  We all have different versions of prayers, prayer means different things to different people.  For me there are four ways I pray, and I do it every single day!

Prayer One; Meditation

In 2012 I learned a form of Vedic meditation that has literally saved my life.  Everyday, twice a day for 20 minutes a day I sit in meditation.  I repeat a mantra, selected specifically for me and allow the deep peace of meditation to cleanse me of my stresses.  I have noticed a significant difference between myself before and after meditation.  Before meditation I was struggling with my PTSD symptoms, anxious, depressed, overwhelmed by crowds and strange places.  After mediation I have found a lessening of those symptoms.  They’re not gone completely, but they’re much more managable now.  With meditation I can balance the daily stresses of life.  Without meditation, those days when I forget or skip a session, I feel it.  I feel angry, weepy or tired.  Meditation works for me and I’m blessed to have it in my life.

Prayer Two; Thank You

It may seem simplistic to say thank you and call it a prayer, but there is more to it than just being grateful or accepting a compliment.  Thank you to me is being grateful for every moment and seeing it as an opportunity for growth.  I’m not just thankful for the good things, but the bad things as well.  Deepak Chopra talks about using the acronym STOP- Stop, Take a breath, Observe, and Proceed with love and kindness.  Thank you is my STOP moment, it’s me thanking the Universe or God or Spirit for giving me a moment to do better.  Rather than getting caught up in the moment and merely reacting, the Thank You prayer gives me a chance to really choose a better way.  Thank You for bringing this anger to my attention- how can I do better?  Thank you for bringing this sadness to my attention- how can I change this?  Thank you for bringing this happiness to my life- how can I share it with others?  Thank you is an important prayer that reminds me to be in the moment- thank you!

Prayer Three; Please?

Some people treat the Please prayer as their personal bargainning chip with God, the Universe or Spirit.  Dear God, please give me this or that and I’ll do this or that for you. I’ve always believed that God is within us- so bargainning with God is kind of like promising yourself you’ll do something when you give yourself something you need.  For me the Please prayer is more about asking for a truth to be revealed to you, and that truth may be that you don’t need what you’re asking for in the first place.

Here is my example of how the Please prayer works.  I’m often late.  I don’t mean to be, but I get absorbed in activities and forget to give myself more time to get places.  So I’m often asking for no traffic delays, freedom from speeding tickets, or a good parking place when I get there. When I ask for these favors, they’re often granted- but on occasion they aren’t.  When the answer to the Please prayer is no or not right now, there is always a good reason.  I’ve come to learn that when the answer is no or not now, it’s because something better is in my path if I just look for it.  So I didn’t get that really close parking place-maybe it’s because I’m meant to walk a few blocks so I can run into an old friend or smile at someone who really needs to see a friendly face, something I would have missed if I had been on time or parked close.  The Please prayer for me is about learning it for myself, learning about what is inside me and recognizing that although I think I need this one thing to happen, it might be different from what I’m expecting.  One of my favorite lines from the “Wizard of Oz” is from Glinda the Good Witch;

“Glinda: You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.

Dorothy: I have?

Scarecrow: Then why didn’t you tell her before?

Glinda: Because she wouldn’t have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.”

Prayer Four; Namaste

This is a prayer I’m working on manifesting daily.  The definition of Namaste is-the divine in me recognizes and honors the divine in you. This really resonates with me as writer.  I firmly believe that we all have a story-and if someone is willing to listen we can recognize that our stories are all the same.  There are different players and different circumstances to each of our individual stories, but the underlying struggle and emotions are similar.  We’re all connected, it’s that simple.  Feeling, seeing and believing in that connection is what love is meant to be, and it’s something I struggle to believe in.  Namaste is about accepting your worth, your divine presence and your mission in life, along with realizing that we all struggle in this journey.

I can blame others for hurting me, or I can recognize that the hurt I feel wasn’t their fault.  Not to say that I’ll become a doormat, lying down to be trampled over by anyone with an axe to grind, unaware of their own divinity.  But the prayer Namaste for me means forgiveness…forgiving myself, forgiving others and forgiving the past mistakes by acknowledging how they’ve served me. I am who I am because of my past.  I won’t forget the wrongs, but dwelling on them is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. Likewise if someone hurts me I don’t have to allow them to repeat the hurt.  You don’t have to participate in every argument you’re invited to, NO is an acceptable answer.  So for me Namaste is recognizing the divine, and being aware that some people can’t recognize the divine and I don’t have to invite them to my divine party until they can recognize the divine.

Those are my prayers… how do you pray? Do you pray? What power does prayer have in your life?