Tag Archives: Transformation

THE PATH OF AUTHENTIC FREEDOM

I have come to the point in life where differences (race, color, cred, sexual orientation, religion or no religion, beliefs and what is “proper” or not) are superficial to me. What is uppermost is what lies deeper than that. Can you just enjoy laughs, tears, joys, sorrows and celebrate the ways in which you and others are alike? Can you stop, at least now and then, from being offended by someone else and realize that it is not they who offend you but rather your beliefs and inability to see beyond your own boundaries that cause the offense? 

Perhaps the question is, do you want to look beyond, walk out on that limb, suspend your own beliefs or feelings for even a moment or two, to try to see things differently? If the answer is that you would rather keep things just as they are and you feel no need to see deeper than your present ability, then, please don’t pretend you do. Be true to yourself, be authentic. That does not mean that this should give you free license to be be cruel, harm someone physically, or want to make them conform to your own standards. You will, perhaps, miss out on a more expanded and enriched life but that is your choice and certainly you have that right.

If you do wish that you could be more open and accepting, I can tell you from my own experience that this has been one of the best gifts I could have given myself. I can walk through freak shows and find the freak in myself. I’ve been an insider during my lifetime and an outsider as well but when I choose to allow myself to just be with different people expressing different things, I can enjoy the party even if I am not an exclusive member. What does that mean? I can be free to jump in and frolic all I want, then go to a different party and frolic there even if the former was worlds apart from the latter. I can be dead serious, solemn , thoughtful, or off-the-wall funny, playful, light or sassy. Without my erecting or keeping so many boundaries, I am free to fly however I want, whenever I want, wherever I want instead of being constricted and becoming a prisoner of my own making. Does this mean anything goes? Of course not. You don’t throw common sense to the winds. You don’t put yourself into harm’s way. You don’t stay where you are not welcomed. You don’t have to play any games that make you feel uncomfortable or stay in situations where you are being taken advantage of. You don’t have to join in for the sake of appearances, of looking good. It has taken me a lifetime to begin to figure this out. I don’t know about you but I have often felt out of place. It wasn’t because I was so different (though I often feel that way) but rather because I was not allowing myself to be the authentic expression of Brenda that I always was deep down inside. I was brain-washed and trained to conform to my family, my society, my church, my groups. I tried to make myself into whatever I thought would make me fit in with the norm. I find that I can fit in with the norm or the exception thereof not so much because of the need to be accepted but more for the sake of just expanding myself and setting myself free.

No one could tell me this. I just had to figure out where the discomfort came from all these years, look back at my experiences, and find the real me. I invite you to do the same. You may not find that your path is like mine in any way. I believe that this Energy or Power or Spirit or God that creates all things wants to express in, through and as me, as you, as all things created. I find that having that belief brings me joy, helps me make sense of what I can’t explain, and gives me the the awesome job and responsibility to allow Spirit to shape me and shift me as He/She is declined to do. Following a path of authentic freedom is, to me, the most loving, common-sense, and creative path one can take, It is the gift that keeps on giving through storms or calm, through light and dark, through joy and sorrow and for this I am truly thankful.

LOVING WHAT IS AND GROWING OLDER

When I was young it seemed as though time walked at a slower pace. In fact I had been known on more than one occasion to get behind time with a broom and try to hurry it along, sweeping in desperation and angst. I couldn’t get to a certain age fast enough or I couldn’t get through a difficulty or challenge fast enough or the goal or special something I was looking forward to just could not get there fast enough.

Fast forward to middle age. Time began to seem like I was riding on a train watching the events go by outside my window slow enough to be seen but fast enough that at times I seem to miss some of the scenery. I began at times to search inside my head for memories that were not sticking because time was moving faster than before. Then I noticed that every time I turned around, my children were becoming women and preparing to go out and begin lives of their own on their own.

Fast forward and my children are having children who are growing at a faster rate than mine did,. And the mate I though would grow old with me is given a death sentence by an oncologist. What? No! This isn’t happening to me. Time finally got me to an age where we finally had a little more money and more time to enjoy our “Golden” years. This cannot be. At first I wanted to grab the hem of time and slow it down again so that I could have more time with my husband but as his pain worsened and every organ in his body was dying for lack of oxygen I wanted time to be merciful and pass a little more quickly for his sake and not mine.

Time stopped for a while after that. I was not the “me” with whom I was familiar. I was dead inside. Yet, there was a spark that would not let me give up. One day time started back up, slowly at first, until I had begun to see that I had redefined myself. I had become a familiar being to myself yet different than before. Once again time was going at a nice pace that I was nether hurrying along nor trying to slow down. I started building a new life and open to dating again which seemed to throw me happily back to my teenage years. I thought for a while I had pushed time back, was reborn into my teens (in my head) and started finally seeing a second chance for a whole new squeal to my first book of life. The second book would contain some of the same people and things and yet many, many more different characters added, new places to live, new life style, new way of looking at things. This was not to say it was all peaches and cream. I had to learn about managing money and a whole lot of things that I never had to mange before. Some things I did not know how to do or who to talk to or who to hire to do things I could not do. Time for me was exciting, scary, tearful, joyful, and challenging. Sometimes time flew, sometimes it stalled in the air, sometimes it crawled and sometimes it enjoyed tangling me up it its web.

Fast forward to now. Has time been good to me? Yes. Has time been painful sometimes? Yes. What is time doing now? Time is going faster and faster now. I look down at my hands and my arms and I see the container in which I have lived these many years is shriveling up. Mother nature knows I am way past child bearing so has called back the estrogen that kept my skin a little more moist, my hair thicker, the wrinkles at bay, and muscle tone with ability to hold things where they belong instead of sagging or dropping south so I shrivel with every day that passes. Though I have a lot to be thankful for including activities if I feel up to them; people who love me and whom I love; enough money right now to sustain me; a roof over my head; a wonderful little dog; traveling planned; and a nice place to live, I find that time is slipping away. People whom I have known all my life, famous people who lived in my life time so far, and all that composed my life all my life are dying or dead. I am feeling more like I am becoming the last leaf on the tree. My whole life now is geared towards its end. Time is still there but even if I live twenty more years, those twenty will gather momentum and pass with the speed of light. So I am in my final times of my life and the next big transition will be my final one. At times I start to grieve my own demise like I grieved the loss of my first and second husbands and my boyfriend who also died long before the transitions were made. It is a preparation that cannot be avoided.

Through every state of my life thus far, time has been on my side whether it went quickly or slowly I know that time is always now. It is only fast or slow in my head. Looking back I can see more clearly now and know that I can love every bit of life – the good, the bad, the ugly of it all. I know I will continue to do so as I come to terms with growing older and beginning to transition from a life looking forward to life loosing its meaning and hold upon me. I am starting to embrace the body changes more and resist them less, to love what is. I’m not alone in this transitional time of life. I may be more aware or willing to talk about it than some are and I know the key to love what is at all stages of life. The “what is” are things we cannot change. The things we can change, we should of course.

It has been said that growing old is not for sissies. Life is not for sissies either but it is a most fantastic and deliriously, ever-changing whirlwind of being whose form we must embrace at all times or suffer through a resistance that is futile. I have not choice but to love it what is and to grow old with it.

A MOTHER’S LOVE

There are many females who become mothers but they don’t exactly know how to love, to be a good parent. Some of them are not well or have emotionally issues that are not addressed. Some get into drugs or alcohol. Some had an abusive, neglectful, distant or absent mother themselves. Some mothers abandoned their child or children or give them up for adoption but sometimes we don’t know the whole story and maybe the giving up of the child was the most loving thing that they could do.

Recently I read a story about a little girl who was left near the highway in a paper bag on a very cold night more than 20 years ago when she was found by a state trooper. She was meant to live. You have to wonder what the mother was going but my guess was that she was very young and without support. Possibly she wanted her child to be found. But you question, “Put her in a paper bag like trash?” The baby was wrapped in a towel and put in the bag. Perhaps the mother though that would keep the baby warm enough until someone found her. We just don’t know the whole story. Desperate people, though, do desperate and sometimes stupid or cruel or dangerous things. That much we do know.

Every sibling born to one mother has a different take on the telling of how Mother was when they were growing up. People on the outside had their own version of what she was like as well. So what is the “real” story? Listen closely, it really doesn’t matter what the real story was because the mother’s children and all the outsiders looking in each had their own experience of that mother and then interpreted that experience in their own language so to speak.

I had a version of my own mother that wasn’t all peaches and cream but it wasn’t a horror story either. Yet, I have to admit, I had a bit of a tough time with my interpretation of growing up with Mama. Little by little, I have let go of “My Story” about all that and have been healing. Over all my mother was a good person with some anger issues and some depression. I have some wonderful memories but I have some that sting a bit though the sting part has been getting better step by step.

I had a dream this morning as I was beginning to wake up. In the dream I had a lot of tears that were caught in my throat. That is what we call having a lump in our throats. The tears wanted to come and what I was struggling with so much was about the things over which we have no control. I was about to cry because sometimes we have to let go of how things were, could have been or are that we can change. In my dream, I was in my bed in the house I lived in at one time as a child. It was dark. Slowly the door began to open and it was my mother. As she further opened the door, light came into the dark room and the tears flowed. I wanted my mama and she came to me. The dream was so healing. I woke fully away with tears in my eyes. A mother’s love. Ah.

WHEN LOVE GOES AWAY

Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.”Kahlil Gibran

First of all, I must say that love never really goes away. Your feelings about someone can change or someone can change how they feel about you. Someone may move away from you. A relationship may end or, worse, someone that you love may die. But love itself never dies. When that love you once enjoyed with a person is not longer available to you, it feels as though part of you, that fire within you somehow has been snuffed out.

The very breath you take in to keep you alive and to calm you just isn’t enough to quell the sadness, the feeling of emptiness left in the quake of your world being turned upside down. Questions come like tormentors snapping at your heels and clawing at your already shredded heart. What could I have done differently? Could I have done more? Why did this happen to me or (in some cases) why does this keep happening to me? And you cry or scream or smash something depending upon the severity of the loss, because it is too great to push down for long. 

In any kind of case of severance between two people, there is an emptiness; there is grief to some degree; there can be anger; there can be disbelief and resistance to what is; there can be a part of you that wants to try to bargain for a different or better outcome. There is a complete change in your life and circumstances as that chapter of you life the way you knew it begins to transform into something completely different.

Each time it happened to me, and I knew that my life was going to change drastically, (indeed it had already changed to some degree) I did not want to go onto the “next” chapter when the last one was ending. During those times, I was usually dragged kicking and screaming into the space between chapters where I regrouped, re-organized, then finally accepted what was. Then I could start making small steps towards the next chapter of my life. Was it easy? No. How long did it take each time there was a shift in my life? It varied. No one ever knows how long these things will take. Was it one step, pass the test, go to the next and the next and the next? No. Each day was different. Sometimes it was a giant step forward or one backward. Sometimes I thought I was not to live through the pain. Sometimes I thought I would die. But all along there was a glimmer of hope, a desire to get through it all and to move into the new space. There was enough of that spark of hope and desire, to make it happen. The very love that I had within me, the love with which I had loved the person I lost was my saving grace. 

When tragedy of any kind enters into a life, people can stop living, they live but very unhappily, or they keep on moving on. They can let go of what was and they can seek a new life. Those who can make that choice to go on will step bravely into that new and unexplored chapter, and find a lot of challenges. They do, however, learn a lot, they grow, they expand, and they begin to make choices but most of all, they breathe and keep on going and they take love with them. Love never goes away.

 

 

 

LOVE AND BREATH

Breathe in the pain; exhale the peace. Breathe in the anger; exhale the love. Breathe in the fear; exhale the courage. Breathe in the confusion; exhale the need to know. Breathe in the hurt; exhale the compassion. Breathe in the disappointment; exhale the gratitude. Breathe in the prison; exhale the freedom. Breathe in the control; exhale release. Breathe in the hesitation; breathe out the steps. Breathe in dying; exhale life.

Breathe through the feelings – especially the painful ones – feel them, let them express then allow them to be transformed back into the silence from which they came when your thought gave them life.  Grieve them, allow them but do not make a bed in them.   Rather chose the place to lay your head and your heart that brings you peace, joy. and love.  Every though gives birth to feelings and feelings need to be acknowledged and allowed to have expression.  They are real and you are alive because of all feelings – both those you enjoy and those you do not.  Each feeling is just the flip side of the other and  within the whole of them is where your being springs forth and that being that you are is awesome, fantastic, beautiful, alive, full of promise, and precious.  Breathe that in and exhale the wonder that you are.

LOVE’S NEW EYES

Many years ago now there arose a wave of what became known as the “Charismatic Movement” and being a seeker who yearned with all my heart to actually know and experience what we call God, I dove into that wave head first. At the time I was a member of the Catholic religion after coming from a Baptist/Methodist background. I officially converted a few years after my marriage to my part-time Catholic husband. I say part-time because he found living life to the fullest was much more satisfying and fulfilling than being a full-time practicing Catholic. This living life to the fullest and gobbling up all the different and interesting things life had to offer was his religion.. This was not a bad thing because this man could love like his very next breath depended upon it. At the time I did not understand a lot of things like I do now and I often resented his plunging into experiencing all of life that he could experience because it left me alone a lot of hours with the job of rearing our children pretty much entirely by myself. I was not as free as he was to pursue interests and flit about unaffected by all the responsibility that came with caring for children minute by minute.. John did hold a job and worked very hard but any and all his free time was his. Let me hasten to say that what this restlessness, resentment,and the emotional pain in my life (including guilt) did for me was to make me all the more hungry for finding peace, love, joy, contentment and understanding of myself, my life, and my God. So were it not for that, perhaps I would never have become what I call a Christian mystic though I hesitate to pin a label upon that which does not wear a label well. I will deal with the subject of mysticism in another chapter.

While I resented my husband’s religion of plunging as deeply as possible into experiencing all that life had to offer, he never resisted my seeking my own way to make peace with life. He fully supported me in anything I pursued and that included financially if that was called for. Was he perfect? No, but he was a prince among men and one whom I never really fully appreciated until I could see with new eyes. He and our life together looks so differently to me now as I look back and re-evaluate everything from a different point of view – that is, seeing through new eyes.

My path is what it is day by day minute by minute. And as my new eyes have grown through the years to see yet more clearly, that which has been, is now, or will ever be, changes each time I look at it.

How did I find myself in this enchanted land where nothing is as it seems or seemed, where thorns and roses can abide on the same one stem and be understood? How does one, for example, find in a person or condition or event both the good and bad, the wanted and unwanted, or an adversary and a supporter simultaneously? How can we find both tears and joy in one event? How can we find sense in those things that do not make sense? How can we find the whole in the world of division? Why do we even care about such things? One usually gets the urged to explore beyond what they think they know and understand, because of curiosity or pain or something that they cannot explain. It can be one thing or another of these or combination thereof. What made Alice go through the looking glass or chase the white rabbit? What made Dorothy want to go somewhere over the rainbow to make her way to the city of Oz and the Great Wizard? Whatever it was (and as undefinable as it might be) you know it when it calls your name and urges you out of your familiar comfort zone. As an aside, a “comfort zone” may not be all that comfortable but it is familiar and there is some comfort in the familiar; so, something has to call us to leave that comfort zone and to explore the unknown. So if you hear that call, let us leave behind what we thought we knew and begin the journey to chase the White Rabbit and slide over the rainbow to find the Great Oz.

THE UGLY DUCKLING AND LOVE

Many of you are familiar with the story of the ugly duckling who looked nothing like his brothers and sisters. He didn’t act exactly like them. He didn’t fit in but was trying with all his might to act like a duck. Mother duck took care of him just like the other ducks but all the ducks thought he was so ugly and didn’t fit in. They made fun of him. After a while the ducklings grew into young adults. Out on the pond was all these beautiful ducks being ducks and they were amazed because in their midst was a beautiful, dazzling, graceful, pure white swan. The swan could stop being what he was not. He was not a duck. There is nothing wrong with a duck. They have their own beauty, abilities, and purpose but the swan also has his/her own beauty, ability and purpose. Nothing is ugly. Everything and everyone is just being what they were born to be.

That was just an illustrative story but in real life as we know it as humans, we all know that when someone doesn’t look like you or act like you or believe as you do, you think they are odd. You think they are ugly. You call them misfits. You don’t give them credit for being different. If the difference you experience is unbearable it is your choice to not hang out with them. It is also you choice to love them or not anyway. You can love people you don’t fit in with or who don’t fit in with you. It is possible. You have the power to decide to accept or not accept them for who they are. In the story, once the ducks saw the beauty in the swan they stopped rejecting him and ridiculing him. They accepted him for who and what he was in his own way.

It is not your job to change someone into you. It is not their job to change you into them. It is your honor and privilege as well as theirs to each respect the other person’s gifts, talents, and quirks. Does this mean that you allow someone to disrespect you, trample upon you? No. Just try to remove yourself from them because they are not yet grown enough to be able to give love, respect, and honor. You can still send them love and a desire for them to find their own beauty so that they can see it in others.

Love should not hurt if it is absolute and pure. Love understands. Love spreads its wings over the wounded, clasps the wounded to its breast and tenderly heals. It brings out the “swan” in all creation.