Missed Opportunities

After my trip I have been thinking a lot about “callings” and purpose.  I still believe that our highest purpose is to connect with God.  Beyond that though, we have contributions that only we can make.  I wonder how often we miss these opportunities because we are trying to label ourselves or fit into a box.

The last few days I’ve been thinking of my passions, or the things that light me up when I think about them.  I get really excited about the lessons I plan for the kids at church.  I’m not incredibly organized and struggle a bit with putting them together in a lesson format, but the ideas bring me to life.  In December, we’re going to discuss the metaphysical symbolism in the Christmas story.  In January we’ll be doing the metaphysics in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  After that I’m going to create my own unit on the red letters (the words in the bible supposedly spoken by Jesus).

But here’s where the label comes in.  Because I find myself drawn to the teaching idea again I am trying to make a predictable path for myself.  I’m scared to let God lead me so my ego is butting in.  Yesterday I came up with a plan.  I’d go back to school, get that History degree I’m only 3 classes shy of, and teach middle school Social Studies.  Luckily I know how to listen to my body these days and couldn’t ignore the sick feeling in my tummy when I visualized that plan.

I wonder how many people ignore their guts, go against their dreams, and choose the “sure thing” path?  I wonder how often opportunities for finding your purpose and embracing your calling are missed because money, stability, power, or reputation seem better?

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Sylvia’s Click

Sylvia is someone I met through the Owning Pink Posse.  She is one of those inspiring souls that strives to bring out the best in others.  She is a writer, yoga teacher, artist, photographer, gardener and “blissed-out” babe!  I am grateful that she answered my call and shared this personal click story, that I know will touch many.  If you would like to hear or read more from Sylvia you can find her wonderful blog about living blissfully here, on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.

My click story starts in January 2001. My husband and I had heard from
my OB/GYN that the test they had done earlier that month showed that a
long treatment for restless cells in my uterus was finally successful.
We could finally work on getting pregnant.

I drove home with some mixed emotions. A little more than two years
earlier I started on a hormone treatment, and immediately got plunged
into a major depression, and gained about 30 kilo’s in weight in the
months that followed after.

So there I sat, deeply depressed, feeling utterly lost, and with a
moon cycle that was completely out of whack and very painful. A uterus
that was so cramped up I could hardly sit up straight and walking
around became more and more difficult. And my doctor told me that I
could get pregnant.

Two months later I was rushed to the hospital with what could be an
appendicitis. After a day of waiting for the two hour emergency
surgery, it turned out to be an ovary with a really bad cyst.

That surgery and the recovery from it was my click. It came in the
form of one single thought: is getting pregnant worth this suffering?
It didn’t take me long to say no. I felt like a crippled person, stuck
in 9 days out of 24 periods, and the rest of the time I seemed like I
was stuck in an endless seeming PMS cycle. I didn’t get pregnant, as
my wish to have sex had completely diminished. I felt a bloated up
mockery of who I really was.

Soon after what was the second surgery of the year I sat in the OB/GYN
office again for a routine checkup, still not pregnant, and even more
worn out than I was back in January, and I burst out in tears. I said
with a trembling voice I could no longer live like this, and that I
was ready to give up the dream of becoming a mother. It got replaced
by a much stronger dream, a will to survive, and to truly get to live
my life.

The doctors discussed my request, and it got granted. In June of that
year I went into surgery again, it turned out my ovaries could stay
but my uterus was removed. The uterus was tested, and the OB/GYN told
me that the cells were back to their restless state, and if I had
gotten pregnant, I would have had a baby and full blown cancer. The
moment he told me my decision was the right one, it felt like victory.

It has taken me a couple of very tumultuous years, stumbling, falling,
getting up again, to finally get to where I am today. I had a hard
time accepting the fact I no longer had a uterus, and struggled hard
with femininity issues, but I climbed out of it, and became the
strong, independent woman I am today.

I have no doubt that the journey I went through was one of saying
goodbye to my old self, to the dreams of that woman I used to be.

What I did gain though, was finding my passion. I had been a writer
ever since my early childhood, but lacked the confidence to do
anything with it. I found that strength again in the depth of my
depression, and for that I am forever grateful.

Enjoy!

Passion, pleasure, bliss, ecstasy….

When I hear those words my knee jerk emotion is the opposite of the feelings behind any of them.  Something within me thinks the search for any of the above would be indulgent and downright selfish.  My happiness should not be important.  The only thing that should matter is that my family and friends are happier because of what I do for them.  This results in an endless cycle of guilt, because frankly I can never do enough.  I mean I can’t buy Bella that horse farm she wants, provide sundresses warm enough to keep Callee from having to wear pants in the winter, and build an extra sound proof room onto the house for Mark to practice his music in.    Like Leigh said in a comment on Monday, I am not Superwoman!

I am learning that I can put aside the shoulds and the guilt and try to nurture my soul and my spirit by daring to enjoy my life.  There are certain activities we are drawn to.  When we take part in them we might just experience passion, pleasure, bliss and even ecstasy. This is OK… Experiencing those feelings is a lot like hitting the jackpot.  It means we’ve connected with a vital piece of ourselves.  It provides us with insight about our life’s direction and contribution to society.  Right now I love to write this blog, read spiritual/metaphysical/new age books, meditate, and engage in conversations on various related topics.  Sometimes I wonder where these activities are taking me.  Despite the joy I get from a conversation about spirit guides and chakras, I wonder if I just have my head in the clouds.  But when I stop doing these things, when I try to read normal books, lurk around on the internet, and stick my nose into other people’s drama, I find I am no longer in-joy.  There is no pleasure, passion, bliss or ecstasy.  All of that is replaced with agitation and unease.

The agitation and unease that comes with neglecting my soul’s desires affects me and thus affects my family.  When I’ve wasted my time and energy all day without doing anything that fulfills me, I am empty and often grumpy during my time with them.  When I’ve been inspired and engaged passionately in an activity I feel excited.  Yesterday, for example, after going to the gym I came home and had a great meditation session, finished reading an interesting book, and worked on blog stuff.  I felt incredible and the time zoomed by.  Our family time that evening was truly quality time because I wasn’t in my head thinking about the things I wished I would have accomplished.

I am going to make a point to acknowledge the moments I feel pure joy.  I’m also going to ask to be shown more ways to experience passion, bliss, pleasure, and ecstasy.  If I have learned nothing else from the great loss I experienced last year, I’ve learned that our time here is not guaranteed and happiness is our birthright if only we are willing to claim it!!  So what about you…what’s waiting in the wings to bring you joy?

Naware Healer’s Click

The following is a post from a fellow member of the Owning Pink Posse.  The day that I asked her to send in a click story she had posted the following blog on the Posse page.  We both thought it’d be perfect for my blog as well… You can follow her on Twitter and visit her etsy shop.

…she could feel it, the faint music, wheedling it’s way to her. If she concentrated too hard it would vanish, disappear without so much of a trace. But if she stilled her working mind and just listened, openly and unobtrusively she heard it as clear as day. It was a symphony of sadness, of pain and sorrow, swelling from regret. It would crescendo one final time and burst out into joy, wonder and excitement. It was the sound of fulfillment and awareness…of “everything going just right”. She smiled silently to herself, it was so much more than just a little twiddle…

it was the sound of her heart beating to her own tune, the smile on her lips curved a bit wider…

She murmured an almost inaudible thank you and walked away. She said good-bye to her fears and worries and embraced her new dreams and hopes. She had tarried long enough with these “friends”, these bedfellows of doom and gloom. It had never been a romance, but she had treated it that way and now was time for letting go, for moving on and she would do so graciously and with dignity…She mouthed a small thank you once more, harboring no regret or resentment to her old “pals”.

The door to a new chapter in her life was opening…and as they say: Temptation may lean on the doorbell, but opportunity may only knock once…

I’ve been feeling this for a couple of days. And perhaps I’m just so used to not recognizing and following my dreams that that is why I’ve struggled with it as long as I have had. Today I believe, was the last straw.

I have been laid up in between since yesterday, in terrible pain (still dealing with my women issues – though they aren’t quite as bad as they used to be). But “not as bad as they used to be” still is bad. But what did I so poignantly say to another friend of mine, referencing a blog I put up here… ” ‘things are only bad when you say they are’ “. Silly sometimes, how we can’t even listen to our own advice. How we will dig and dig in the rain, and wonder why our hole is just a mud puddle. Where we will use our dreams for kindling in the high winter of our lives, giving up all hope and wonder why they go up in smoke…yes, we are silly that way.

Just today, I spoke to a “family friend”. A woman I know because of my mother, and while I begrudge no one their thoughts and opinions, it doesn’t mean I want to live them out as my own life. She said to me, well with all of your healthcare experience you could get a job real easily, and if you go back to school…

That tore it, I started feeling agitated, I felt the desperate need to get away from her, even though I was hundreds of miles away at my home at my computer. But there was something stifling and oppressive in her comments. It reminded me of back home, of “duty”, of being what everyone else wanted and never acknowledging me. It reminded me of something a “mother” would say, most specifically mine.

I guess the lightbulb was starting to come on, but I waved it away in my agitation. I promptly told her “I had to go” and signed off the site. I went to two of my dear female friends who have almost made it an occupation listening to my rants and railings against how “unfair” my life is being…Unfair, I laugh at it now, but had someone done that to me just hours earlier, I’d have likely flipped out on them…

They both said the same to me: they mean well, and in caring, they think they’re doing the right thing. One apologized for being that way herself to me lately – but it wasn’t her that I was railing about, and in fact I even told her she wasn’t. She insisted, and I briefly remembered a comment that could qualify…but as both of the women are several years my senior and almost old enough to be my mother…I didn’t really take it to heart. Funny.

Since I’ve laid down and now am up again…I checked the mail to no avail, and sat down again before diving back into my book (my current mode of escaping “life as we know it”). But right now, I realize something. And I know now – in thinking it – that it has been stewing in my mind all day…I want success, joy, to be able to creatively pursue that which I love. But what am I doing to express that? Nothing. I’m just whining and lamenting the fact that I gave up on “shoulds” on Friday and am upset that my dreams aren’t here already and fulfilled on Wednesday. BUT what have I done to help them along? Sure I’ve made a couple of things…but it’s been the frantic and chaotic workings of a madwoman…there has been no real effort so what am I bitching about? I’ll be honest, I have no idea.

I know some of the things I need to do. I need to update all of my email signatures so they extol my business and healing center.

I should change my name on various sites to reflect my services.

I need to use all those handy widgets I have access to (that are free I might add) and advertise across the bazillion social sites I’m on.

I can blog more…it’s not like I’m not verbose enough to have something to say.

And I’m sure there are several other things I can do. Just need to do them…just need to stop straining to hear that symphony and relax and then the beautiful sound will come to my ears and uplift me. Stop railing against the “unfairness” and make my life what I wish it to be. By focusing not on what I don’t like, what I wish wasn’t here…but appreciating what IS.

Ps, Thanks Leslee!

Symbolism

There is no doubt that symbols are everywhere.  As I sit here typing this I am looking out my window at my neighbor’s FSU flag flying in the breeze.  The flag represents excitement and love for the Seminoles and the game.  Beside me on the table is a picture of Mark and me on our wedding day.  It reminds me of our love, how far we’ve come, and all that we share in this life.  Bella has a collection of acorns in her room.  They symbolize her respect for nature and desire to be close to it.  Callee carried her best friend’s birthday party invitation around with her for weeks.  She’d open it up to see the picture of him inside and be reminded of the special friendship she has.

It is a part of our human nature to want to be reminded of the things that make us feel good or the things we desire in our life.  A fourteen-year-old boy might have posters of bikini clad girls and sports cars hanging on his bedroom wall because he hopes someday to drive that car or know a girl like that.  And we see with the popularity of the Twilight book series, that it represents a passionate love that knows no end or boundaries.  Many girls (young and old) wish to be desired and fought for by someone as sexy as Edward Cullen (or Robert Pattinson).

And of course there are religious symbols.  What would spirituality be without them.  They remind us of our path, progress, and faith.  These symbols in and of themselves are not our Gods.  They represents the gifts that God gives us.  A Christian wears a cross around their neck as a symbol of Jesus’ sacrifice.  When they see or touch the cross, they think of their savior and know they are forgiven.  A Buddhist would have a lotus flower as a symbol for the progress of their soul.  The lotus flower grows through muddy and mucky waters to bloom with amazing beauty.  A Hindi might keep a statue of the goddess Kali on an alter as a reminder of the feminine energy of God.  The star of David in Judaism has a lot of symbolism, including a representation of unity and the relationship between God and Jewish people.

In my opinion, symbols are simply reminders that we use to stir our souls.  In this moment of my spiritual journey I am seeking to overcome obstacles and to find my way.  I want to be a good listener to those who come to me in love.  I want to let go of attachments that keep me planted and heed my progress.  I want to remember always the blessings that God is constantly bringing into my life.  I am seeking higher knowledge and when I look at Ganesha on my ankle, I am reminded of all of those spiritual goals.  I do not worship symbols, nor do I believe anyone else does.  I think all of us connect to the meaning behind them and that brings us bliss, comfort, peace, or passion to get through the daily grind.

ganesha_symbolism

My Response

I chose purposely not to respond yesterday.  (Although I did get ever so briefly sucked in by something Julian said.)  But I am also aware that people are stopping by, which I suspect is to get my response.  The strongest feeling I have is empathy.  The catch to this blog world is in most cases there are no take-backs with comments.  Once you hit publish, you can’t go and count to ten, take a walk, scream into a pillow, kick the cat, and then come back and delete your comment.  I am the only one with power to delete and unless I am asked to do so or unless what you have posted turns my site into an x-rated site, it won’t happen. (There is an exception to this if you are a first time commenter…I have disapproved a commenter that way before.) So I spent my day checking the comments and crossing my fingers that no one else would get attacked.

I am not angry.  I am finding out that somewhere along the way my heart has truly opened.  I spent the day silently telling my sister (and Laurie, but I’ll focus on family with this one) that I love her and hoping somehow she’d feel it.  I spent the day hoping that she was OK, but knowing that she must be hurting. (I thought about calling but simply have no idea what to say or how, besides I love you.)  I spent some time thinking about what parts of the comments hurt me the most and trying to figure out the lesson.  For me it has to be the selfish thing.  If I haven’t said it before what I was taught along the way is that there is nothing worse in this world than to be selfish.  So those were the words that definitely stung the most.  I serve God, my family, and my fellow man in various ways-the ways that work for me.  But there is always room for improvement.  Thanks to those comments I spent more time yesterday playing with my daughters.  I had an amazing conversation with Bella and let Callee put make-up on me!  I signed up to go on Bella’s school fieldtrip next week (which I was going to do anyway) and can’t wait to visit Temple Israel Preschool for the bookfair.

And for those who wonder about the spoiled thing.  Yes, I was spoiled.  I was a Mommy’s girl big time.  My life revolved around my mother to the extent that I’d often work myself into a sheer panic envisioning her death and wondering how in the world I would survive without her.  (Again I have a terrible memory, but I’m pretty sure I had these morbid thoughts as a child.)  I held my mother’s hand everywhere we went until I was 14 at least.  And a big reason for all of this is that my mother was good to me.  But I wasn’t any more spoiled than most of the other kids I knew, I was perhaps just more spoiled than my sisters.  (I think that’s what happens with the youngest child.  There is a whole book on this subject, I have it but haven’t finished reading it.)

But all of that aside, I’m not here to defend myself.  I’m not blogging to push anything on anyone.  I am simply here because I love to write and I love to analyze the meaning of my life.  Putting my life lessons here is creating this incredible record of who I am.  I don’t know that it matters if I get one visitor or one hundred.  I will forever have this journal of what life means to me.  I wanted to find a passion and I’ve found one.  I wanted to feel alive and I do.  I wanted to experience love without conditions and I am finding everyday more and more that there are people I simply love without reason and want.

**And also I should add I have totally ripped off Why is Daddy Crying‘s style, but just for today I promise.  This place was in desperate need of some lightening up!**

Enlightening Assignment

I wrote about the workshop yesterday and today I want to share an assignment we were given.  We were asked at the beginning of the day to write down the names of three people we admire and at least one thing we admire about them.  Then we were asked to write down the names of three people who really get under our skin and at least one reason why.  The first part of my list (the admiration part) without thinking too deeply about it, looked like this.  (And we could pick anyone, living or dead, whether we know them or not.)

My husband Mark-determination and follow through

Lissa Rankin-her ability to take a leap of faith and follow her passions

Joel S. Goldsmith-being a spiritual teacher and healer, letting God work through him

The second part of my list contained the following characteristics.  I, of course, will not mention who they belong to.  (Again though it could be anyone, living or dead, whether we know  them or not).

-Judgmental, set in ways

-dishonest

-unwilling to get to know the truth about others

After completing the list we were asked to look at it carefully and were then told that these people were our mirrors.  All of these characteristics were within us, which is why we notice them so quickly in others.  Obviously we talked mostly about the negatives.  Kamala explained how people often don’t believe that those dark aspects really belong to them.  They deny, deny, deny.  But for me it was the complete opposite.  I’ve understood for a long time that the reason I get so hurt and angry when I witness others being judgmental is because I myself do this and desperately wish that I did not.  As for dishonesty, I claim to be an honest person.  I can not tell a lie and I never look for loopholes in the system.  I’m a “by the book” kind of girl.  BUT, I am not always honest about my feelings.  When asked how I am, the standard answer is “fine”…even if I am far from fine.  When asked what I want, I often say “I don’t know” even when I always know.  Within my own head, I do an excellent job talking myself into and out of things, without always looking honestly at the choices I am making.  And as far as the last one is concerned, I like to think that I am willing to understand people, but I must admit I have been known to put them in boxes after I learn a tidbit of information about them.  So I am embracing this shadow side of myself and hopefully I can bring it into the light.  Maybe eventually I won’t even notice when others are being judgmental or dishonest.  Then I’ll know I no longer am…

As for the positive aspects, that’s where I found myself a bit confused.  It’s always been very easy for me to notice the qualities I am not proud of, but to claim the good stuff…that’s scary.  I have some great ideas and I want to see them through, this requires determination and the ability to take a leap of faith and follow my passions.  Apparently because I see it so clearly in others it is also within me.  And these days more than anything I want to put my energy into my spirituality and letting God lead me.  And I can because the ability to surrender is inside.

This activity was really the most enlightening one of the day for me.  It allowed me to learn so much about myself and who I can become.  I can build on the positives and try to find a way to work through and release the negatives.