Broken Open


Protect yourself, toughen up, live in the real world, don’t be so sensitive. I’ve told myself this so many times. Be the same, blend in, don’t rock the boat, you expect too much, life isn’t a love story, or an adventure, or full of magic or miracles. I’ve heard this from others and replayed it plenty over the years. So I did that thing you never want to do and I listened to all of it, and I did a great job of making myself what I finally became: numb.

The good thing is, when my heart finally hardened enough, nothing hurt me anymore. “I don’t care” was my mantra to myself in a never-ending loop. When faced with negligence, judgment, hostility, hate-spewing, whining, subtle slams of criticism, or being severely under valued~I felt no pain. Moving right along with my “I don’t care” mantra, I breezed through mediocrity and monotony with expressionless grace. I quit writing, because I had to feel to do so, and I had nothing I wanted to say anymore.

Enter the truth. I noticed that I couldn’t feel the good things either. My joy in anything at all was missing. I saw nothing in full color, and felt nothing that truly touched me. I forgot how to love, and how to let myself be loved, with very few exceptions, and it frightened me.

I sat down one day after finding an old MAPP assessment I received, years ago, when I was unsure of what direction I should take, the results of which I disregarded as I tried to turn myself into Super Woman. After page three, I realized to my dismay that I was crying. Silent tears just falling as I read about the young woman I almost remembered being. I also realized with no doubt at all in my mind that I LIKED that girl. I missed her. I wanted to be her, and I should have been.

So here I am. Trying to open this bear trap of a heart with a crowbar. Reading, writing poetry, listening to music that makes me dance, practicing yoga, and meditation. I am working on softening my heart every moment of every day that I can. It’s not easy when the life that I let shut me down is still happening every day. But I am getting somewhere. I’m thinking for myself, and asking questions of myself too long ignored. I’m re-calibrating my soul in a way. I’m leaving my assessment out for frequent reading as a map to the new world, a way of finding joy, adventure, and miracles again.

I want to keep trying, crying, and loving until I’m broken open~and when it happens, my world may not be the same as I thought it should be, but what I am, and what I have will be real. The love I feel, and have, will be worth it. Both for the giver and receiver.

I want to be the open-hearted girl, the lion-hearted girl, the “too much” girl. I want to be that girl who cares too much, cries too much, gives too much, writes too much, and laughs too long and too loud. Come home girl, I miss you.

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Beloved Family


I create my own family. I don’t know when this began exactly, nor does it matter, but every so often I find someone (or the universe places us just so) who I need to bring into my heart. I have a radar for those people who have been waiting for me to adopt them so we can save each other, just a little bit, from the smacks in life. There is really no rhyme or reason to it, I mostly imagine two souls recognizing each other and clicking together like little magnets that have just been searching for the right moment to complete the connection and then continue to grow together.

Now, I must admit, I have made the mistake before of recognizing a heart that has been sadly lacking in attention, and respect and proceeding to forcibly adopt someone who was not at all wanting to be loved on. Lol, I laugh only at myself and my exuberance. I can be an overwhelming force when I feel called, and not all people want to be saved, or feel they need to, from a lack of affection or respect. I see what I see, and I act accordingly, but sometimes I have to tell myself that people grow at their own speed, and their needs and openness to love change as they do.

I hope not to be misunderstood in this~I don’t think I’m any great anything to help the world at all. But I do what I do, and I am what I am, and I’ve learned not to apologize for it. I recognize who belongs to me, belongs in my life, and belongs in my heart. It can be less than five minutes in their company and they become mine. Part of my family, part of my heart, and part of my life. Even if I see them rarely, or don’t get to spend the time I want with them, I will defend them and support them in any way I can because they belong to me. And yes, I will tell you up front, my love is blind and it is proud I am of it. They are mine through their weaknesses, their struggles, and their glories~it matters little to me. I am proud of them through it all.

I am not invincible, there are the very few who have smacked me back enough, or prefer to keep such distance that I either can’t get through, or quit trying out of respect for their need of what they have. It hurts me, and goes against my natural behavior to honor that, but I am no longer willing to be foolish or miserable at what I consider my failures to connect.

Even with spouses, (especially?) it can be most difficult to maintain or grow common ground when they are wrapped up in their own preferences of behavior, but that is for another blog, at a later date.

With all of this in mind, I express gratitude to the universe for the family I was given at birth, and the family I have collected for myself. You know who you are, willing or otherwise lol. I am grateful. Amen.

 

Things I Know For Sure


My only son was just married last weekend. It was such a beautiful, fun event that I will always hold close to my heart. I loved the opportunity I had to meet his two closest friends (who I pre-loved for meaning so much to him), and to thank them in every way I knew how for being such brothers to him, and keeping that important part of him secure during his stint in the USMC. I wanted to show my appreciation for the family that comforted me by caring for him the many times he couldn’t come home for the holidays,  or long weekends.

I am so blessed to love the beautiful girls they brought with them. That was such an amazing bonus to gain two more daughters (or dotters as I always say) on top of the one that’s been a part of our little family already for years. They are so amazing, and fun, and different, and brilliant!

I am so excited at this point at all the possibilities! Someday, I’ll be an awesome Glammaw, and hopefully I’ll get to go to two more weddings of people I love in the next few years, and I get to experience my life blending with a mixture of others that add so much sparkle to the future!

I know this for sure~with as much as I loved my baby boi the whole time he was growing up, I love and respect him so much more now. I love his wife (dotter #1) and think she is amazing. I love his brothers, and their girls (dotters #2 and #3), and look forward to seeing them again. I always thought it was good that I never had another child because SURELY there was no possible way I could love them as much as my one. Little did I know how it grows exponentially, like a tsunami covering everything in its path! Lol.

I’m ready to have some adventures, and see all the new G movies, and shop for everything in the world that’s cool now. I became multi-generational to keep up with my boi and what’s happening now. I’ve got it in me to add another generation to my repertoire.  I am not afraid.

Here’s to life, and all the things I know for sure, and all the mysteries left to uncover!

May you all be so lucky in your lifetime!

<3  

Patrick O'Keefe

I Know What Love Is…


This morning, as I was doing the Open Heart Meditation, I had my hands open receptively and was breathing in…out…in…out…and I felt a furry nose land in one hand and a crazy licking dog in the other…and I thought with a smile~ahhh, there’s love right there…my two goldens giving love to momma.

The amazing back story to this is that a few months ago, when I first started meditating, it SO pissed me off to hear a bothersome sound or be “interrupted” by my dogs. I mean, I’m trying to MEDITATE right? HOW ANNOYING!!  lol.

Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Like many “going to church” Sundays when parents are yelling for kids to move along, or get ready, or get in the car, or whatever. Who we really are at the moment gets in the way of who we are trying to be. The interesting part of that is~we don’t have to try so hard. All we have to do is relax and let go.

I’ve had a VERY trying couple of days. There were a few times I was looking the old me right in the eyeballs, telling myself mentally to STAND DOWN. There is value, reason, facts and righteousness in that part of me, but no peace. No true north. No lay my head down and feel good about my behavior at night.

When I first started this journey, I PRETENDED to not be angry. Ha!! Ever tried that? It is stroke inducing, I can vouch for that. I looked very successful at what I was trying to do, but on the inside…I was a volcano waiting to erupt at any moment, or maybe an old building ready to implode on itself.

Now is better. Even on my bad days. Even when I see it coming on the horizon, I know it’s not worth it. It doesn’t keep me from feeling the strain, but my decision is made ahead of time, and my reactions~those I can live with as I go along the road I’m travelling now. No pretending. Just me and the real deal.

I know what love is. It’s not pretending and saying I love you while actions say get the hell out of my way. It’s feeling a furry nose in one hand, and a licking dog in the other, and smiling to yourself because “Ahhhh, here’s what love is, right here”. It’s actually BEING the spouse, partner, companion, friend. Actually pulling your weight, and giving support, and being the love someone needs instead of letting them carry your ass too many times. Let’s be who we say we are~no more pretending for the public.

I know what love is. It’s not the words, it’s the living of them.

From Arrogance to Love


I have never really paid much attention to the story of the mythical Narcissus until today. To me, it sounded like a short corny story about a conceited guy. Boring. Until I read a small chapter of The Exquisite Risk by Mark Nepo today, it didn’t strike me how most of us suffer from his same affliction.

Not that we gaze endlessly at our reflections, enthralled by the love of our own beauty~no, it’s more painful, and damaging than that. Especially, but not exclusively, women gaze endlessly and hopelessly at our reflections~judging ourselves less, or fat, or old, or ugly. We are obsessed with how smart we are not, how untalented, and uninteresting we are in comparison to the entire rest of the world. We are full of our superiority in our inferiority. Our troubles are greater, more challenging, dare I say insurmountable?

We are so certain that the entire world is about us and our inability to shine like others. That the skills and gifts and blessings we downplay and degrade are even ours to own. What a load of crap.

In learning to break down my beliefs about myself, somewhere along the line I quit being ate up with myself. I quit judging myself so harshly, quit down-playing gifts and talents that I flat-out know for sure don’t come from me at all! I quit acting and believing as if I am the cause and effect of every dang thing around me.

It has been quite hilarious being me in recent months. I laugh a lot, mostly inside, but sometimes it just busts out. Somebody told me I was beautiful the other day, and instead of immediately being embarrassed and awkward, I just smiled and said “thanks!”~I mean, seriously, I don’t have a thing to do with that, that’s all on my parents and the Creator being creative I guess. Sometimes, when I’m done writing and send my poetry or songs or whatever off into email land, I’ll come back and re-read them and just slap my hands together, laugh and shout out to the Universe “DAMN, you are GOOD!”. I know it’s not coming from me, just through me. Just like beauty, or love, or forgiveness. Through me.

That’s what I want to come through me. Love instead of ego, forgiveness instead of judgement, creativity instead of excuses, gratitude for the more than enough instead of whining about the lack. I want to be excited about the days I’m given, not feel like each one is some kind of punishment.

When did we learn to make life a tragedy starring us? Why not share the stage with the Universe and give the proper credits when due? Why be obsessed with our “less than” or our “lack” that only exists in this ego we are eaten up with.

It’s arrogant, self-absorbed, and ungrateful to live our lives stuck to the mirror of self-judgement. We must get over ourselves. I am certainly trying. And believe it or not, it is a huge relief when you accept it’s not at all about you. It’s about all of us, together, expressing life, as one~in all our different ways.

Let’s put the mirror down, and go live this life.

 

 

Masks We No Longer Need


What I most want to bring to the world today is…me. Just me without all the labels I’ve acquired over the years. I want a clean slate, a fresh start, a do over. So I’m going to have one, or maybe more. I’m going to do-over until every word I speak resonates with the kindest truth, every effort I make is done with the most genuine love for me/you/the world. I’m going to  grow stronger and more understanding~letting go of what no longer serves me, and situations where I am unable to serve at my highest level. I’m going to grow more courageous and leave behind all the “should”ing on myself I’ve become accustomed to punishing myself with.

I dwell in the midst of circumstances I find appalling until I feel like I’ve learned my lesson in that place. I don’t allow myself to cut and run when I want to, I wait, and ask myself…”what arrogant part of me has been buffed smooth by this”? I’ve taught myself to change the thought of hating something to accepting that it’s a step in the right direction, not my destination, so there is no room for hate~and no cause.

I was disappointed earlier this evening by learning that the cost of starting school for a wellness coach certification was just straight more than I could do right now with my family happenings. I let myself wallow in depression for about 20-30 minutes before it overwhelmed me so I hopped on the tread climber and burned away calories and sadness for an hour.

So many masks over the years, so many roles I play along with everyone else. This big ridiculous drama, that should be an adventure, this black and white silent film that should be in color with surround sound, is coming to a close. It’s time for me to take a bow and step up. I will find a way. I will start training no later than September of this year. I promise myself this. I pinky swear myself, and I know I’ve got to keep that shit.

Shadow Heart


This is a shadow day. A day of dark reflection reminding me that nothing remains the same, so  I must evolve into my light, or sink back into my shadow. There is no middle ground. I accept that every day may be a gift, but not all will be easy. I will always wish, in those moments when life is at its brightest and so am I, that I can hold onto the magic. During days like today, I know it really is up to me to either stay in the shadows, or bring myself into the light again, but I have to remind myself. It isn’t so easily rendered on a day like today.

I know that I determine my attitude, yet today I struggle with misery. There is a strong part of me that wants to force things to be, instead of let them unfold. I have to trust that my perfect opportunities are being brought to me, and will arrive at just the right time. I don’t want to carelessly damage the plans for me that are greater than any I can conceive of for myself. I trust  the Creator of all things, just as I trust in my next breath, my next heartbeat,  and my body  working to heal itself. The seasons change without effort, the sun rises, flowers bloom and the earth rotates without any help from me, who am I not to trust in the flawless creation of my life?

So I am telling myself tonight that the shadow I am today is merely a sign of the brilliant light I’m standing in, because without the light I long to flood the world with, I would never see the shadow.

Shadows are proof of Light. Proof of Life, and Hope, and Love.

And so it is.