The Prophet

There is only one

more sorrowful thing

than to love someone living

a self-fulfilling prophesy

of loss and isolation…

only one more

heart-breaking thing

than to bear witness to

a self-destructing


only one more

hopeless thing than

a need to control

so great in its desperation

that life cannot breathe

through it…

If there is only one more


more heart-breaking,

hopeless thing…

it is to be the prophet

refusing to allow







What’s Stopping Me?

How odd and unexpected a gift it was to find that writing for someone else taught me what I was lacking in writing for myself. To hold someone’s original raw thought or emotion and carefully orchestrate a communication that would not misrepresent the intention. To sift and sort words and phrases to respect the teller of the story, to hold true to the voice while removing verbiage that would block those who might receive the message otherwise. To be able to write in such a way that the person you write for says, “YES! Yes, that’s exactly what I wanted to say”.

I didn’t realize I wasn’t doing this for myself.

I pulled out the 53 pages of a book I started 20 years ago, after I’d shoved it in a drawer. I’d revised it again 3 years ago, and shoved it back in the drawer. I read it tonight and a small part of me wondered how it would end if I finished it now. I wondered if I should even try because I am not at all the same woman who wrote these 53 pages, I’ve learned too much in the interim.

A friend of mine said to me today that she wished she could pick me up and lift me away from everything that stopped me from writing like that for myself. That my words make her feel like she’s there in the middle of everything that’s happening. What a wonderful thing to say, and hear.

I know I’m the only one who can do that. I’ve been what’s stopping me.

I’ve got a story to tell…





The Big Show

This week was interesting. It was as if my old and new ways of thinking arm-wrestled inside my head as each challenge offered to stress me out. There were work texts after hours, crabby people, poor planning, discourtesies, getting pulled over, and to top it all off, I did not win the lottery.


Still, I woke up every morning. I kept myself at the edge of appreciation. I recognized when my “Peace on earth, goodwill towards men” was wearing thin. I kept myself out of lock and load mode over those things that have no bearing on, or pose any threat to, my plans to dominate my own world.

What I did note, with relief and gratitude, was that it wasn’t impossible. It wasn’t even that tough to do. I’ve grown strong enough, finally, to maintain my equilibrium when it looks like things are falling to pieces. Usually they’re not, but when they do, I know it’s not permanent. Everything eventually changes.

When shit gets serious, I just do my best and let the good times roll.

I don’t miss what’s missing. I like the calm that comes with knowing my opinion of me matters more than anyone else’s. I enjoy disregarding instructions on how I should be or what I should do. I am not sorry about what I don’t allow in my space. I am happy to retire from performing in anyone else’s circus.

I know I’m on the right track for me when I remember certain things and catch myself whispering “Thank God” to myself, to the pups when I hug them, and in my heart before I fall asleep. I like knowing things will work out for me, that new opportunities will keep laying themselves at my feet, that laughter is always an option.

Might as well relax and enjoy the show.



Soft Focus

Days like today make it easy to be happy. My brother and sister channeled pain into power today, and I know what that feels like. I know what it looks like. I was involved a bit in their gifting of it to members of Congress today, and it was a glorious feeling.

I’ve lived the opposite; I know what that looks like too. It feels like hardship and heartbreak. It feels like loss, and lies. It’s a placing of yourself into circumstances and a way of living and acting because you believe you can make a difference in the world, without taking into consideration that you cannot make choices for anyone but yourself.

We perpetuate our own fractured emotions, crush our own bones and shatter our own beliefs. We teach ourselves to see where we are instead of who we are. We mistakenly focus on how we got here instead of where we’re going next.

What do you choose to see?

We all lose people we love. Some losses are from death, some from dishonor, some from disinterest. We mourn the deaths, we become angry and bitter at times, and sometimes we are grateful for the loss of what we weren’t wise enough to let go of willingly.

This is when we have to make the decision to become less or more than we have been if we don’t want to default  to more of the same. We repeat what we don’t learn from. We can feed the destruction by dwelling on the harm caused, or we can change our direction and perception by focusing on the new reality we decide to create for ourselves.

Look back one more time if you have to. Learn. Let it go.

We can use what hurts us to garner sympathy, as a tool of manipulation, or a weapon to hurt others so that we are not alone in our pain. We can also try our best, as my brother and sister have on this day, to turn it into a laser focus of awareness and change. We can take what we know now to do and be better. We can take the new wisdoms learned and build on them, share them when asked for, re-purpose our pain.

We can use the ugly we see, feel or experience as a GPS of sorts to guide us to its opposite. We can decide to look at it clearly and refuse to give it the power of our attention by focusing on the cure, the answer and the healing of it.

Re-focus. What you take your attention from loses power.

You already know this don’t you? You’re irritated at someone, and the more you think about it, the madder you get. You confabulate conversations and situations in your head that haven’t happened (and may not) and throw yourself into a frenzy. Then much later you find out the facts of the matter, and you don’t have a leg to stand on. But you’ve been angry for days, and now you feel foolish, a little sick of yourself, and exhausted.

We forget to take the time to breathe, relax a little and decide who we will be.

Our circumstances are not who we are. The perception of us that someone else holds is not who we are. We can learn to take back the power over us that we’ve foolishly given away, stand on our own, and decide for ourselves who we are, where we go from here and what we’ll do with the time we’re given.

The better we learn to serve, respect and value ourselves, the more we have to offer ourselves and others. We can be wise enough to quit spreading ourselves so thin, and trying to be all things to all people. We can learn the difference between helping someone who asks and respecting the rights of those who revel in what they’ve got going on for themselves whether we see it as harmful or not.

We are not all-knowing. We can soften our focus. 

Words do not teach. Forced assistance does not promote growth, it promotes resentment. A lesson well-learned exhibited in a life well-lived is a light for others to follow if they choose to. We wake up every morning and by choice or default live a life of happiness or misery, we can be valiant or play victim, be freed from, or slave to, our circumstances.

We can decide to be happy and allow sorrow to ease. We can live in appreciation, focus on the lessons learned from the injuries, re-invent our purpose from the bruises of impact. We can choose to thrive.

And by our example, others are presented with choices they may not have considered.

We can live our lives in such a way.

The Hug Academy

When I meet someone for the first time, I usually shake their hand. There have been a few occasions, when I’ve heard enough about someone ahead of time to “pre-like” them, that I just have to hug them instead. My joy in meeting them exceeds my courtesy of honoring personal space.

I am a serial hugger.

I have no tolerance for fish handshakes and half-assed hugs. Seriously, what’s the point? A good handshake indicates confidence, willingness to connect, a strong intention and presence. A good hug offers affection, welcome, comfort, open heartedness and a sense of belonging. There is an art to a great hug, each unique in its expression.

One of my friends, I will call him Drew to protect his privacy, lights me up the minute I see him. No matter what I’m doing, I drop it and run to hug him. He always laughs and wraps me right up and holds on for a second or two and makes my heart smile. I don’t see him often enough, but he knows coming and going how to give the best hugs. He’s like a second son to me.

I call this hug The Original.

Melanie, who shall remain nameless, has been a sister/friend to me for over 20 years. Every visit together ends, no matter what our topic of conversation, with a head to shoulder hug, resting together for just a few moments. We often joke that we could nap like that, like horses in the field, while we gather strength.

This one is The Restorative.

Kelsey, who I will refer to as Anonymous, prefers knuckles and calling me biznitch to make me laugh. But because she loves me, when the days are extra hard or extra happy, she’ll hug me tight for a second when she’s on her way out.

This is the Hug of Valor.

My invisible friend Ruth Ann is about the size of a #2 pencil, so small that you can barely feel her in all her huggyness. Her tiny and frequent hugs are given super powers from the size of the heart behind them.

These hugs are The Hummingbird.

My Boi, who practices the art of Jaroditzu to blend with his surroundings, is in his own category. No one else qualifies, as I trained him personally from birth. His hugs are joy.

I call this one The Reason.

I hope you have enjoyed this entry level training to The Academy. Should we ever meet in person, you will be tested.

Study up.




How The Light Gets In

My perception of things right now is odd and fascinating to me. I’m not used to not worrying. I no longer need to know the outcome of something before I give it a try. I have no desire to pretend interest where I have none, or allow myself to be led down a side path for the diversion of it when it’s clearly not good for me to do so.

I’m not used to feeling this way, of being rock solid at the roots and flexible in the storms of whatever life blows by me. I don’t have to figure everything out today. I don’t need or want all the answers right now, because what would I have to look forward to then? I don’t have to fix myself or anyone else. There’s nothing I need that I don’t have, and nothing wrong that living won’t fix as it rolls along.

I’m totally good with letting things filter in through the massive cracks I’ve got in my resistance to just living day to day. New opportunities, happy moments, fresh ideas, the beauty of not knowing what could come next. All the new sifting through pushes out the shit I’ve been holding onto for so long. What a relief it is to let it go.

It’s interesting how very little around me has changed, yet I find myself in an entirely different world. I like it. A lot. Circumstances that used to infuriate or devastate me are over so quickly now. I just fix my part of it where possible and drop the rest like hot rocks. And I don’t pick them back up.

The cracks in my walls are getting bigger. Sometimes I face plant into a tough situation, a bad memory, or my own ego and I have  to remind myself to relax, let it go and get out of my own way. Then I have to laugh at myself just a little for trying to make it harder than it has to be. I have always been excellent at doing that.

I will keep breaking it down a little every day. Widening the cracks. Allowing more good things in to push out my “usual” ways of thinking and being that aren’t of service to anyone. A friend of mine said to me recently, half joking, “You’re scaring me. I think you’re losing it”.

I hope so.

The Fixer

Today, I wobbled. I knew it would happen eventually and I know it will again. I don’t like it, but I know it’s a reminder of where I’ve been and I know it’s a clarification of where I’m going and who I’m becoming. If I told you I enjoyed experiencing or observing it today for a noble lesson for earning greater wisdom, I’d be a liar.

Today, I was faced with a situation I wanted to “fix” for someone else.

In the name of all that is holy, I promise you I recognized a lifetime of savior behavior trying to pull me in. I have done so well these past weeks at letting go of imagined control of circumstances, being grateful for exactly where I am, and respecting that everyone is responsible for where they are and what they decide to do with where ever that is.

I’ve been happy, I haven’t worried much, I spend most of my time looking for what’s right, and I know I’m going to be just fine. I know I can’t make things be okay for everyone. I know I don’t get to choose well-being for someone else. They have to decide that for themselves.

So I trembled inside while I allowed things to flow along without me.

I let the chips fall. I watched in fascinated horror as things unfolded around me that I didn’t want to hear or see. I forced myself to show respect for individual choice by keeping my mighty powers of persuasion (manipulation?) to myself. I did not allow myself to remove someone’s opportunity to learn for themselves just because my life would be happier or easier if I did so. While I wouldn’t hesitate to save someone from their death had I the power to do so…

It is not my right to save someone from life.

Who the hell did I think I was all of these years I was “saving” people? Lord knows I had to be ground up repeatedly before I learned what I kept refusing to learn. The world kept turning today. Nobody died, and no animals were injured in the making of this day I experienced. These two things will allow me to sleep sweet tonight.

I do not have the power to make anyone but me healthy, wealthy and wise.

I’ll admit (just this once) that I have previously emptied myself in all ways possible to save or benefit someone I cared for. I did not see that I perpetuated any weaknesses or behaviors that held them down. I didn’t know I was stealing their lessons from them. I inadvertently made myself happy at their expense by removing their opportunities to stand, or decide, or grow on their own.

It was misdirected love, ego and arrogance.

Who the hell did I think I was? It’s embarrassing to admit that I believed I could love anyone into wellness, productivity or sanity. Maybe it was easier to focus outwardly than it was to see myself clearly and deal with that.

I am a recovering enabler. My name is Shelly.

I am only the boss of me.