Attention and Growth

Photo by Erkam Hayta on

“The universe is giving you signs in your conversations, in music you listen to, in the clouds.  Pay attention to them and piece them together.  You will notice a pattern.” Via Awoken Shit.  I wrote the other day about victimhood and I felt this naturally went along with it.  How often I’ve played the victim was more often the result of me not paying attention.  I’ve allowed myself to be so wrapped up in my little world that I never took the time to really interpret what the universe was telling me.  Believe me, that is EXACTLY what I thought I was doing, but that was not the case.  I was telling myself the story I wanted to hear.  Even when I got signs contrary to what I was asking for, I would comfortably fall into the pattern of, “Woe is me, I’m not going to get what I want.” And then stamp my feet finding a way to bend the world to my will. 

As I mentioned, I definitely grew up in an environment where I learned to play the victim very early on.  Between home, work, and school, all three seemed to take pity if I felt I couldn’t do something as long as I was very, very good at what I could do.  I can’t change a damn thing now, but I do find myself wondering what would have happened had I been taught to go with the flow and learn to interpret what was around me rather than making it what I wanted it to be.  What would have happened if I had just noticed the pattern of what I was being shown? 

What I want to do now is learn to pay attention.  Quite frankly, it goes against every instinct I have.  It involves turning down the damn voice in my head so well rooted in its own path.  It involves doing more listening than talking.  None of that is impossible, but my thoughts are anxiety driven so they don’t quiet down so easily.  My sister taught me an exercise for this which involved creating a room in my head with a lot of lights and when things started getting too much, I began to turn the lights off to turn off some of the thoughts.  I have always known that quieting those monsters is the first step toward hearing the truth.  The next step is listening.  Then acting on what we learn. 

There is empowerment in understanding the signs.  In hearing what we are meant to do and following through on it.  It doesn’t pay to pretend we have no say in what’s happening.  I’ve noticed how much I don’t pay attention.  The same is true for all of us.  The signs truly are there, all around us.  If you choose to ignore them, you are a victim of your own choices.  But we are able to choose differently.  We can always look at things differently.     

Villains And Victims Revisited

Photo by cottonbro on

We’ve all heard similar adages that we are the victims or villains depending on who is telling the story.  With all of the crap I’ve been going through lately I have found myself falling down the victim trail.  Any one of us can make that choice because we all experience moments in our lives that feel beyond our control and, let’s face it, the moment anything is beyond our control, we feel victimized.  I started looking at my patterns and realized exactly how much I’ve allowed this mindset to take over my life and how often I’ve played this role and I felt disgusted.  It felt like a truck crushed me because I’ve fallen prey to this so many times.  I started fearing it’s simply my wiring—and I’m a victim of genetics.  That may be part of it, but at the very least I do know it’s part of my conditioning if not my actual makeup.  I also know I’m tired of it.    

The interesting part of being a victim or villain is that those definitions depend on the perspective of someone on the outside.  And those on the outside rarely matter when it comes to the matters of your heart.  It’s also interesting that we try to portray a certain role (at times) to illicit a feeling from someone else.  Not that we are necessarily being manipulative, but if we feel we are at our emotional limit and unable to do something as needed, we always explain ourselves and how we can’t muster that energy now.  Maybe we want a little sympathy, but most times it’s to create understanding.  But if that understanding is about making ourselves look weak, then we are feeding into the victim role.  Is that what the goal is?

We can learn to set a boundary without being a victim, and in full transparency, I have no clue how to do that.  That is a skill I am determined to develop, but it is not a strong point for me yet.  I’ve worked for people who didn’t give a damn if I was bleeding out and demanded I come to work, so yes, I learned very early on that in order to get any semblance of help, I needed to sell how bad the situation really was.  A company policy stating, “While we encourage the use of time off for recharging, we understand that isn’t always possible with scheduling issues” and then short-staffing the place to save a buck puts you in a situation where you feel you have no choice but to put your needs last.  I never learned that these were unhealthy habits and that any company worth their weight never would put their employees in situations like that. 

I’ve learned I will not get ahead in this world on the good graces of people seeing how much I suffer.  My suffering does not endear me to them.  No, that only puts me in a position where they see how much I am willing to sacrifice for their behalf and they learn to expect more.  And, truthfully, that is human nature.  We learn to take the path of least resistance and if we see someone willing to do the work, then we allow it.  It is not innate to take on the burdens of others ourselves.  So why do we learn to hope others will take on our struggles willingly? 

I want to be clear in all of this that victimhood is not the same as vulnerability.  And perhaps what I’ve been going for all this time was vulnerability—but I made myself the victim.  Vulnerability is about expressing what is going on while maintaining a boundary.  It isn’t saying you can’t do something—it is clearly stating you can’t do it now and setting the terms of when you will do it.  Vulnerability doesn’t put you in a position to be taken advantage of—that is a victim because the victim then relies on the actions of the other people involved.  Vulnerability is about being real and victimhood is a story we tell. So, decide how you want your story to go and start aligning the narrative in your head.  Don’t make it about how many wrongs you’ve endured—make it about how you’ve moved through life with grace no matter what came at you.  Make it your decision, not someone else’s interpretation.  While we are still blessed to be on this Earth, we get to tell our own stories.  Harley Davidson is attributed with saying, “When writing the story of your life, never let anyone else hold the pen.”  Don’t hand over the tools you’ve been given while you’re still here to use them. 

My Big F*cking Dream

Photo by Pixabay on

Every day we hear, “No.”  “That’s not exactly what we’re looking for.”  “I think we need to circle back on that.”  “Right idea, wrong time.”  “Possibly too big for us right now.”  “Not the direction we were hoping to take.”  I’ve spent a lot of years working for people in order to get by, to make ends meet.  I’ve taken direction, produced exactly what was wanted, and still have been told it’s not right.  It’s time to decide that our dreams are bigger than what other people tell us.  It’s time to value our input more than other’s opinions.  It’s time to demand what we have been putting into the system all this time.  Our time is worth every bit as much as, well, EVERYONE’S. 

After being through the wringer with my family’s health scares, my own health issues, dealing with nonsense from the insurance companies, dealing with an uncertain future in a merger, concern over my job for other reasons, it hit me that NOW is the only time I have to take control over my life.  We give away so much power over things that no one has any business being a part of (unless we allow it) that it’s no wonder we aren’t able to get where we want to be. 

I have dreams—big ones as the title suggests.  Some are definitely pipe dreams, but I believe that even the biggest dreams I have are able to come to fruition with the right alignment and timing.  I would rather keep working for my own dream than worry about disappointing someone while supporting someone else’s dream.  I don’t want to waste my time—I’m too selfish for that.  Maybe I’ve always operated with a degree of selfishness, but after the events of the last 15 months, the selfishness has shifted.  It’s not about material gain—it’s about honoring who I am. 

People will say no a million times over without ever hearing what you’re really saying.  I’d rather spend my time building my own foundation than waiting for the day someone tells me I’ve got a good base.  Simon Sinek said, “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress.  Working hard for something we love is called passion.”  THAT is all the difference.  I don’t want someone to tell me what my effort was worth to them—that will always be subjective and no one will ever see me the way I do.  We are replaceable to everyone but ourselves. 

So I’m taking the time to love myself and appreciate how far I’ve come.  I love that there is the possibility that my efforts can help other people.  I love that I cut through the bullshit and call it what it is.  I love that I fight for the underdog because that is where I have seen the truth of humanity.  I love seeing the truth in people—that we have so much beautiful potential just waiting to be unleashed behind the fear.  That it’s not all about power and hurting others—that we really can be good at heart.  I love my big fucking dream of unifying this beautiful planet in a way that benefits everyone.  I know we can.

Sunday Gratitude

Photo by cottonbro on

Today I am grateful to listen to my body.  I’ve been going out of my mind sitting so much lately and I feel for the first time in a long time that I’m hearing what my body is telling me.  I’m struggling to find the middle ground, but I know I can’t sit anymore.  My body needs movement, love, and deep care.  I managed to put away some laundry and then shower. 

Today I’m grateful to listen to my mind.  I spent a lot of time reading today.  Simply indulging in a book and resting.  Not working on anything, not trying to change my mind on any subject.  Just getting lost in another world.  I also watched some movies to keep my mind off of things.  I powered through yesterday and set up a bunch of my work projects for the week so there isn’t so much overwhelm when it comes time to work.  The downtime today felt really nice.

Today I am grateful for some peace and quiet.  My husband has taken our son out twice today to give me some time to rest and take care of myself.  That is an extremely rare gift and I am so glad he did.  I adore my son and I have felt so guilty not being able to give him the attention he has needed the last few weeks.  So the fact that my husband took him for a little while to give him some real one on one time outside made me really happy because my son got the attention he needed and I was able to relax without feeling guilty.  

Today I am grateful for my home.  I have neglected it so badly and the place is a disaster, but I have a home where I can rest my head and work my way through all of the craziness.  It’s not how I normally keep it and I’m totally uncomfortable, but I don’t look past the fact that I have a space.  No matter what it looks like, this space is filled with love and laughter and fun and I want to have more of that in my life.  So I’m choosing to be grateful for a space that I can still make my own. 

Today I am grateful for the chaos.  I hate how I feel now because I am beyond out of my element, but I am choosing to look at this moment with gratitude because it is clearly showing me what I want.  It is showing me the life I want to build and it is showing me the steps I need to take to get there.  I can no longer indulge in the self-imposed chaos, allowing life to take me in one direction or another.  I am able to steer the sail and I am learning that I need to do it more often.  This is the first step—embracing the chaos and understanding I can clean up my own mess and go where I want to. 

Today I am grateful for support.  In the last few weeks, I have not once felt alone and that is an incredible gift I do not take for granted.  The people closest to me are aware of what is happening and not one of them has shied away to step up and offer assistance in one way or another.  I have had coworkers, colleagues, employees, friends, and family all in my court.  Honestly, I don’t even know what I need help with, but knowing all of these people are in my life and willing to help is an immense comfort.  I am beyond blessed to have that kind of support system.  I am not good at asking for help and I am learning how vital that is.  I am grateful to know I have people to reach out to.   

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead


Photo by Anna Shvets on

Our health system is such a disappointment—and I know this is no surprise.  I’m just caught off guard by how blatant it is becoming and how widespread it is now.  I’m experiencing an illness I need medication for and my physician called in a refill for me today.  I went to pick it up and they told me insurance wouldn’t cover it because I’ve had too many pills within a timeframe.  Now this is a specific anti-nausea medication—it’s not a narcotic or anything controlled like that.  It’s simply that the insurance company decided that I only get sick a certain amount of times a day—and that’s all I need.  If I wanted to pick it up regardless of coverage, it was over $100 for 10 pills (I know there are costs WAY worse than this, this is my experience only).

I have worked and paid into various health insurances for over 20 years of my life, I have been fortunate to only need the bare minimum up until now, I fail to understand how this happens.  How is it that insurance companies, companies we pay our money to for a service, determine when and how we get sick and what we need to get better?  There are millions of more egregious stories than mine, but how in the hell did we give them so much power over our lives?

This is just one of the millions of examples of how we need to advocate for ourselves.  No matter who it is against, no matter how small we may feel, we only have one life and there is no one interested in preserving our lives more than we are.  Their interest is strictly monetary—our interest is about our livelihood and the experience of what we want in our lives.  The problem comes when we allow systems that serve no purpose other than making a profit at our expense to take over.

I think the way to start is to stop.  Stop listening and shut everything off so we can reconnect with our inner guidance system.  Reconnect to that vital source of inherent wisdom we are told we have no access to from the time we are born.  Learn to believe in ourselves again and relearn our place in the world.  Learn how we connect to ourselves, to nature, to source, and to others.  Only when those pieces are in place again do we understand our humanity, the humanity of others, and what we really need moving forward as well as what our impact really means.  We no longer live in a bubble. 

When people struggle with something, we all do.  And it is so important to understand where the issue is.  The night I went to pick up that prescription, there were two women having a really tough time at the pharmacy—also with insurance related issues.  They began taking it out on the tech helping ring people out.  I will admit, I stood by.  I wasn’t feeling well enough to take on that battle—even though I thought about it.  This issue had nothing to do with the woman reading the verification results on the screen.  It had everything to do with the same place where my issue started as well: the insurance company.

Human nature makes it easy to take it out on the person delivering the message or even those in closest proximity to us.  That is a habit we need to rein in.  Addressing the issue outside of the source will do nothing.  Plus that tends to give the person attempting to help you an unnecessary headache as well.  Just because we are having a difficult time, we often forget that the people doing their jobs are struggling as well.  They don’t dictate the rules, they don’t want to see people suffer.  They are put in a position where they have to deliver the news the giants don’t want to deal with—because those giants know they are wrong at the end of the day.

So we need to be gentle.  Gentle with ourselves.  We need to be firm.  Firm with our boundaries.  We need to be clear.  Clear with where the issue starts.  We need to be unified.  Unified in the idea of our humanity and our common need.  We need to be honest.  Honest about the fact that things aren’t working as they are now.  We need to be awake.  Awake enough to know what we really need.  We need to get out of our own damn way.  Get out of our way and stop pretending that we have no say in what happens from here out. We need to believe.  Believe that this is something we can tackle together.

Weighty Things

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on

“If you want to fly you must let go of all that weighs you down.  You are nowhere near the end of your story-your story has just begun to write itself.  Let go of perfection—it doesn’t exist.  Let go of your demons—they are not welcome here.  Let go of your trauma—you can live with it but you need not live in it.  Let go of wanting to go back—there is no going back, there is only going forward and forward is more extraordinary than you could ever imagine.  There is even something beyond the horizon,” Aija Mayrock. 

What weighs us down often appears so innocuous we don’t realize the impact it has on us for some time.  Not until it becomes so heavy a burden that we’ve lost something truly important to us because we were carrying it.  We let ourselves believe we no longer know how to fly because we are indoctrinated with things designed to cut our wings and we are never told any different.  But this isn’t another discussion about a broken society. No, this is all about you.

Deciding you want more means making a conscious decision to let go of the bullshit we tell ourselves. It means reattaching those wings and testing them out.  Being who we are.  Learning to love who we are and making no apologies for it.  It’s true that we are social animals but we are not designed to get all of our emotional support from others.  We have too much of our own emotional baggage to take on other people’s issues.  We need people to help us sort and organize and to develop systems of support for each other—that can never come from one person. 

Learning to trust ourselves and our ability to let go of the self-imposed crap we carry is a fundamental step toward becoming whole.  It is learning to set a boundary with ourselves as well as disciplining our minds to see the truth of the situations, not what we think they are.  As Aija Mayrock says, “There is only going forward and forward is more extraordinary than you could ever imagine.”  We can’t move forward if we are holding pieces of everything that was and pieces of what we hoped it would be. 

There are plenty of times we don’t feel strong or we don’t believe in ourselves.  Times we have to dig into the reserves we don’t even think we have.  And there are times, even when we dig that deep, that we will fall.  It doesn’t matter.  All that matters is that we continue moving, learning, and accepting ourselves.  Failures are not an indicator of character—they’re an indicator we care enough to try.  Being told “No” isn’t always a closed door—sometimes it’s a redirection to where we need to be.  So embrace the beauty of being.     

The Room Doesn’t Matter

Photo by Wendy Wei on

“Stop identifying the gaps in your life in relation to who’s in the room,” Jay Shetty.  I am so guilty of this.  I always measure myself by where other people are instead of trusting I am where I need to be.  I’ve sat at tables I felt I had no business being a part of and I’ve managed to think myself right out of the rooms I’ve been invited to.  I’ve even undermined my own accomplishments to the point where people who would look to me to help them questioned their faith in me.  I’ve questioned my own abilities. 

The progress of people around us isn’t designed to be a gauge for who we are.  That progress is there to help us be the best of who we are as well as open up our potential to what we can be.  When we don’t feel worthy we reveal not our vulnerabilities, but the fear we have.  There is a difference.  When we feel worthy, we can express our vulnerabilities without undermining our abilities. 

We live in a society that often thrives on pointing out the inadequacies of others rather than on developing strengths.  Living in comparison locks us in a state of non-action.  Yes, we all have things we can improve upon but those aren’t the things that will fulfill us.  We can waste an entire life improving ourselves and trying to be perfect—which is completely subjective.  Or we can identify what works for us, what we are good at, and develop those skills.  Spending time lamenting what we are not does a disservice to who we are.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of dishonoring who I am.  I’m tired of putting aside what I feel and what could be good for me for the sake of what I’m told is right.  If we have learned anything (especially over the last year) it is that humans are inherently flawed, so by that logic, most of what we do has some type of flaw in it.  We haven’t honestly looked at how function or questioned it for well over 100 years—we’ve always just gone with it because that’s what we know.  So perhaps it’s time to bring that humanity back in instead of fighting to maintain a system. 

The latter point speaks to a much larger issue, so why don’t we start with something smaller?  Managing our feelings toward ourselves, honoring who we are, recognizing what works and what doesn’t, know who you really are, and never underestimate yourself.  When we stop selling ourselves short, we set the standard for how we should be treated and how to keep in alignment.  When it becomes about being who you are, there is no longer room to worry about who others think you should be.  We take the competition out of life when we focus on our own lane.         We also have a nasty habit of purposely looking for where we are deficient.  Maybe it’s a primal instinct because being deficient in something could very honestly mean death.  As we no longer need to do that for survival, we can learn to shift our focus from where we do something wrong to what we do well.  At the very least, we can stop intentionally trying to make ourselves feel like crap or like we are worthless based on some minute detail.  We are worth so much more than we allow ourselves to believe.  Don’t get caught up in the details of someone else’s life. 

Never Said It Was Easy

Photo by Ollie Craig on

“It’s your road and yours alone, others may walk it with you but no one can walk it for you,” Rumi.  I’ve developed a bad habit over the years of not believing in myself.  I’ve always thought I had to rely on others to get me out of situations or to help me find the next step, even to tell me who I am.  I feared that I wouldn’t be able to make my way forward alone so I relied on people to get me where I needed to be.  The problem with that is, it never got me where I needed to be because it was their interpretation of what I was supposed to do.  Developing the ability to listen to yourself and trust what is uniquely you is a real skill.  Trust is so innate but we are taught not to trust as soon as we learn what it is. 

Right now I’m dealing with a situation where I don’t want to have to make a decision.  I’m the one who is impacted by this decision, but for some reason I’m afraid of what other people will think of me.  I know that I will feel better once a decision is made but I’m finding myself really struggling. 

I’m trying to remind myself that I’ve been in situations like this before.  I’ve made tough decisions and I’ve come through just fine.  And most of those people I’m worried about don’t give me as much thought as I think they do, or they didn’t help me get to the other side anyway.  So why am I wasting time worrying about a decision that has no impact on them?  Why do we ever do that?

There comes a time when we have to venture out on our own so we can learn our purpose.  We may lose things and people who love us.  All sense of security.  But we learn how to connect with who we are in a way that doesn’t exist when you rely on others to get you what you want/tell you what you want.  If you are the one picking yourself up by your boot straps, the opinion of someone watching really doesn’t matter.  Theodore Roosevelt talks about The Man in the Arena; “It is not the critic who counts.  Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles…The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.  Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood.” 

We all fight battles every day.  Most of us fight battles we never share with anyone else, mostly because we are afraid of what others will say.  We’ve been so trained to take other people’s opinions into consideration that we’ve forgotten how to actually care about each other.  We haven’t been able to give each other the benefit of recognizing our humanity, when others are struggling.  We also have a nasty habit of either expecting something in return for our actions or fearing that others will expect something of us.  That isn’t conducive to growth.

I’m still not happy about the decision I have to make—but it is my decision to make.  The only way I can move forward is to simply make the decision and deal with it.  I’ve never felt so much pressure in my entire life.  But the truth is, that is life.  We are constantly faced with things we don’t think we will have to choose between and we have to pick one and move on.  If we were able to have what we wanted at all times, some things would lose their value.  So we have to work with what we have and make decisions as best as we can.  Do our best and move forward.        


Photo by Alex Azabache on

“Maybe you’re not healing because you’re trying to be who you were before the trauma.  That person doesn’t exist anymore because there’s a new you trying to be born.  Breathe life into that person,” Awakening Heals.  I’ve ignored my trauma for a long time.  Honestly, I identified with it because most of my trauma happened so young that I believed most people experienced life that way.  I believed they feared everything.  I believed they all lost people they loved at a young age—or almost lost people.  Because it was so a part of my identity, I never stopped to look at the real impact of it.  I certainly never considered that I would be a different person without the weight of it.

I’ve made tons of progress over the last year, I won’t ignore that, but I know that I am nowhere near healed.  I’ve begun peeling back the layers of the onion and I see how much is still unhealed, how much was forgotten, how much I glossed over.  Healing can’t process by bowling over it, skirting around it, or pretending it doesn’t exist.  It’s a process that has to be worked through and integrated into a new identity.  We never have to dwell in it, but we have to learn to define it in relation to who we are.  It never has to be who we are, just a stepping stone into how we got here.

I think of all the times I did something against what I knew was right in hopes someone would take care of me. I learned that from my mother growing up.  How desperately she wanted someone to love her for what she did for them, always believing that they wouldn’t love her for who she is.  That is the pattern I seek to break.  I am learning that setting boundaries isn’t just important, it is how we establish our worth with the world.  Alongside that, I have to learn that I am not for everyone, nor is everyone for me.  that isn’t realistic.  Trying to be perfect caused wounds on multiple levels, namely in that perfection is unattainable so we are always living in a state of lack, and there will always be people who don’t give a damn so it feels like the efforts are wasted.

So healing is also a reprioritization.  It’s opening up to new possibilities and it is letting go of what was.  As the opening quote says, it is breathing life into that person you are trying to become.  Going through health challenges on top of a pandemic while trying to learn new roles for a job and trying to maintain your regular job as well as getting a side business started teaches you a lot.  1.  All of that effort won’t bring about healing either.  2. Looking at what is important to you is all that matters.  That isn’t from a selfish standpoint, that is from the point of making sure your cup is full enough to fill others. The point of healing is to make peace—with everything.  I hope that’s possible.  I mean, peace and acceptance go hand in hand so learning to accept what has happened without making it your identity is a step toward that healing.  We can waste our time being hurt by what has happened or what people have done with us or we can learn to use our limited time here in the most valuable way possible: loving this life.  So make peace with where you are at and let the rest fall into place.  Sit where you are and be grateful. 

Take Care

Photo by Harry Cooke on

“The only way that you can give and share love to others is learning how to love yourself first,” Shaman Durek.  I had planned on discussing self-love next month, but given the events the universe has brought my way, I figured this was appropriate.  I wrote the other day about realizing that the only people we have in our court are ourselves and maybe a core group for support.  I also discussed how I had been trying to appease people around me and to prove that I could still do what I was “supposed” to do in spite of being really sick.  Once I read that quote, I realized that I never would have had those feelings if I truly loved myself.  How can I get to the next level in my life if I keep falling back to old patterns of external validation?

I realized how lonely that is, feeling like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.  Feeling like your worth is tied to what other people think of you.  I’m not sure what bothered me more: seeing I hadn’t been true to myself or seeing that, in spite of not being true to myself, people still didn’t give a damn.  Not to mention that people will keep moving no matter what is going on in your world.  We have lost all sense of what it means to be alive and what it means to be human.

The truth is, I ran myself ragged over the last week.  I’ve been dealing with health issues and still wanted someone to tell me it was ok to take a break.  I’m talking about mental and physical issues—mainly mental issues as a result of physical issues—and still wanting someone to tell me it was ok to take a break.  Had I learned my worth from an early age, I know damn well that I wouldn’t have hesitated for a second to take a beat and do what I needed to do for myself. 

I’m constantly learning about boundaries, and I’ve been reminded that self-love is maintaining boundaries.  I’ve often slipped with my boundaries.  I guess the greatest gift in this situation is the clear demonstration that we are all replaceable to someone—so don’t be replaceable to yourself.  I’ve witnessed first hand that people will seek to destroy you on some level no matter what you are going through.  I truly believe that says more about who they are than it does about you, but it will always feel personal no matter how you look at it.   

In moments of grace, the lesson can also be understanding that the people who seek to ruin you at your lowest have little love for themselves either.  So understanding that we have the opportunity to learn love for ourselves needs to be the way we move forward.  That is the foundation we all need to operate from.  Lastly, that is a practice.  It is so difficult to be the person who constantly weathers the storm and keeps an open mind for what everyone else is going through.  I have a hard time holding that space for others, especially when they don’t hold that space for me.  I guess that is a boundary as well:  hold that space for yourself to be human and understand what you’re going through and simply understand that everyone is going through something as well.