A clear vision on a foggy day.

“Writing is an extreme privilege but it’s also a gift. It’s a gift to yourself and it’s a gift of giving a story to someone.”

Amy Tan

What inspires you? What is your goal? What is it that you truly want out of life?

I get tired of these questions. We read books that motivate us or listen to TED Talks or podcasts and suddenly we have goals and visions and inspiration. But of what?

To be healthy. To be happy. To be wealthy. I completed an exercise a few months ago that outlines my goals on emotional, physical, material and spiritual. And I realize how generic that is. It has not inspired me or motivated me beyond the usual ‘Hooya, I can do this’, week. We all want to be heathy. We all want to be less stressed. Have more money. Have a loving relationship. It’s a great vision.

But let’s be practical. Just envisioning your dreams does not make them happen. We all have bills to pay, food to buy, cars to drive. We don’t always get to work our dream job. We can’t just pick up and move to a beautiful island and live happily ever after.

And so I am trying to think specifically about what I want. What lights my fire. Is it the home or place I live in? The job I have? No and no. I like these things. But I can do without them. There are other homes, other jobs, other communities.

This week has been a tough week for me. I lost something that made me very happy. And so as is customary for me when I am in a fog, I sit back and think. I realize that my generic goals need to be scrapped. I need specific goals. I realized that right now there are really only two things I want in my life. Specific things.

I wear a lot of different hats. But there is one thing I do that I love. This. Writing. It is my one thing where I lose myself. Where all the things happening to me or around me can be momentarily forgotten. The thing I wish I could do everyday. From anywhere and at any time.

But I am afraid to admit that. I am afraid to come out and say, “I want to be a writer”. Why? Because I don’t think of it as a real job. Because it is not something that can guarantee me success. Because it is a goal that I cannot afford to have. Remember those bills to pay?

Maybe this is something that I can actually accomplish. Maybe, just maybe, I should try. And the first step is to admit it. To myself and through this, to everyone else.

So what the hell… I want to be a writer. I want to write. And I am writing a book. Now it’s out there and I can’t take it back. Am I afraid to fail? Hell yes.

But if I don’t try. I fail. So what do I have to lose? All the unimportant things and generic goals that I mentioned earlier. I could lose those. But when I put it that way, doesn’t seem so bad.

I hope you will buy my book.

From the inside looking out.

“There is nothing more freeing and empowering than learning to like your own company.”

Mandy Hale

So pretend for a minute that you have to self-isolate. Many have done it over the past year. If you haven’t, think for a minute on what you would do.

How do I cope with just me, myself and I? Lets say I start off by coming up with my lists. I am a list person. Love checking off those to-do items. All the things that I am going to get done. All the things I can accomplish. Lofty goals in hopes that this will occupy my time and make the days fly by. But that backfires. That list starts to loom over my head before I even have it half-way done. All the procrastinated home projects. All the unread books stacked up. All the saved courses in my inbox. I become overwhelmed. Intimidated by my own damn list. Now all I want to do is crawl into bed and stay there.

But I am not built that way. I am a doer. I am a list-maker. I am not a sitter-at-homer. That’s a thing. Shut up… it is so.

So this makes me really think. How does someone like me slow down and just let days tick away without a plan. Without a list. Step one – throw away the list. Done. Step two – get out of bed and do one thing. Whatever I feel like doing. Clean the house. Check. Day 2. Read a book and get some work done. Day 3. Write a blog post. Get the idea?

This is a good exercise for me. Let go of the planning. Let go of my lists and all the pressure that I put on myself to complete those lists. A test to live one day, one hour, at a time. And here’s a kicker… let go of the guilt. Because I am realizing that maybe sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, this is my motivation. Guilt. Not a sense of accomplishment of getting something done but guilt of not getting something done.

So now I am working on being a sitter-at-homer. Working on not feeling guilty for not having a list. Working on one day at a time. Living in the moment with my own agenda and my own thoughts. I’m not going to lie. I don’t like it. It isn’t me. But I know I can do it. And through this, I know that I am learning something about myself. And that is good. That is always a good thing.

Good things come from living inside and looking out. Something to think about.

I wish a bear was chasing me.

“It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to, has power over you, if you allow it.”

Unknown

A couple weeks ago I had a bad dream. I nightmare actually. I woke up shaking and afraid. It has taken me awhile to figure out how to write about it and more time to figure out if I should publish it. But then I realized that there are people out there who live this dream, this nightmare. And so I chose to share it.

In this dream, there was no murder. No bad guy breaking into my house. No bear chasing me. It wasn’t that kind of dream.

This was a dream that involved people from my past. The man that I was once married to. I dreamt that he was trying to get me to go back to him. He was bullying me. He was persistent. Insistent. He was relentless. And I was trapped. I was being coerced to return to a life that I wanted nothing to do with. A life that I didn’t realize until this dream how toxic it really was. How terrifying. This is my real nightmare. Was my real nightmare. I don’t know if I have ever woken from a dream so afraid and so shaken.

I was suffocated. I lost my voice. I lost movement of my body. I was paralized. I lost control of my own thoughts. I lost my ability to fight. I lost my power. My strength and my courage. I lost everything that I worked so hard to gain over the past 5 years. I lost myself.

This was my nightmare. But it is over. And it is not real. Not anymore.

This is the power that verbal and emotional abuse can have over someone. When I think back on how I felt being in the thick of it, I didn’t know it was that bad. Because it was my everyday. My normal. And then one night I was suddenly and explosively back into the thick of it. And it was terrifying. It was crippling. And it was awful. I can look back now and I see exactly how bad it was. I woke up shaking and afraid. And I should have been. This is not a way anyone should live.

It was a time when I was a victim. Was. I am not anymore. I have put it behind me. I have grown from it and I have healed from it. I do not hold on to it and I do not dwell on it. I embrace the bright and beautiful life that I live now. And I hope with all my heart that others living this nightmare can get to where I am now. I hope with all my heart.

Not to be dramatic… but next time I hope I can have a nice pleasant dream about a bear chasing me 😛


I am always happy to see comments on my blogs. Or feel free to reach out to me personally through the contact page. I would love to hear from you.

I have not changed.

“People don’t change at their core. If you’re a good person, you’re a good person. What changes is our behavior.”

Karrine Steffans

Do people change? I have asked myself this question many times. Deep down, I don’t believe that they do. I don’t believe that a good person can become bad. I don’t believe that a bad person can become good.

I believe that circumstances around us change. Our environment can change. And I believe that we adjust to those circumstances and that environment. And as a result, I believe that a good person can make a bad choice and a bad person can make a good choice. But at the core, we are all still the same people.

I have gone through immense changes over the past 5 years. Many people have told me that I am not the same person that I was 5 years ago… that I have changed. And I completely understand why they would think this. Back then I existed as a reserved, quiet mousy person that was afraid of my own shadow. I was hollow and empty. And I did things I am not proud of back then. I turned away family and friendship. I lied and made excuses to protect myself. I ran away from anything that challenged me. Not afraid that I would fail, but afraid that I would succeed.

I know why I did these things. Self preservation and coping are powerful. Fear is powerful. I have spent so much time learning why I did these things. Learning how my environment and circumstances influenced me. And I have developed a deep understanding of my why. But it was not who I was. It was never who I was.

Today, if you ask me, I would say I am confident. I am courageous. I am bold. I do not hide nor lie. I stand up to a challenge and I definitely never turn away from family or a friend. And so people tell me that I have changed. I have not changed. I changed my circumstances. I found a new environment. I am proud of who I am and what I stand for. And I am proud of the courage and strength it took to make these changes. And I have travelled a long road to get here.

But on that road, it was always me. Just learning how to be the best me. And I am still learning. That is a life long process that I look forward to. Being aware of my circumstances and environment and making sure they are building me up and not breaking me down. Being true. Being strong. Hopefully, setting an example for others that maybe aren’t in the best circumstances or environment. Hopefully, showing people that you can change your circumstances. Your environment.

Be confident. Be courageous. Be bold.

Be a good person making good choices. That’s all we can try to do. And that’s pretty good… I think.

Unexpected forks.

“Life is full of surprises and serendipity. Being open to unexpected turns in the road is an important part of success. If you try to plan every step, you may miss those wonderful twists and turns. Just find your next adventure – do it well, enjoy it – and then, not now, think about what comes next.”

Condoleezza Rice

I sit here writing while I am watching a sunset. Leaving a place that I have never been before. A place that I never thought I would have a reason to be. It is a nice place. A beautiful place. With blue skies and sunsets and warm inviting people. A place that I never would have predicted I would be a month ago. But here I am.

I’ve stopped trying to predict where I will be sitting in my future. You can, but then when other options present themselves, when you come to that fork in the road that you didn’t know was up ahead, you might pause too long. And if you pause too long, the fork might shift and disappear. A missed opportunity slipped away.

What holds us back from making that spontaneous decision to change direction? Maybe fear of unknown and unpredicted destinations. Maybe failure, change, or even heartbreak. We can plan our lives out year by year, day by day, hour by hour. All the planning in the world won’t mean anything when that one little moment butts in and makes things a little messy. That one little moment that grabs the deck and plays 52 pick-up with your lovely little plans. Scattering them all over your nice clean floor.

You can do your best to pick up all the cards and put them neatly back into order. Keeping all the edges lined up. All the numbers and suits placed together in a nice orderly fashion that leaves nothing left for chance. No surprises. Back to the plan. Until the next messy little moment. And there will be one. There is always one. Messy or… adventurous, heart pounding, exciting. It all depends on how you look at it. I chose to look at every opportunity as a possibility. As possibility to find new and amazing people, places and things.

Scary? Yup. But isn’t that what this is all about? If you don’t give yourself a good scare once in awhile, how will you know what it feels like to have your heart pound in your chest and your skin tingle with anticipation. Feel your mind soar or your heart swell. Feel your breath leave your lungs only to refill them again with an energy that can move a mountain. These things I can feel.

I am getting to like scary. It’s living. It’s breathing. It’s healing. It’s learning. It is full of forks in the road and beautiful beautiful possibility.

And sometimes… definitely sometimes, it’s worth it.

Dear 60 year old self.

“For yesterday is but a memory, and tomorrow is only a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a memory of happiness. And every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day.

Ancient Sanskrit poem by Kelidasa

So if you recall, a couple months back I received a birthday card that instructed me to write a letter to my 20 year old self and one to my 60 year old self. I posted the letter to my 20 year old self. Apparently that was the easy one.

I have been struggling with what to write to my 60 year old self. What in the world do I want to say to myself in 10 years from now. I sit quietly in front of my keyboard and just when I think I have it… nope. That’s not right. So I abandon it. This morning I was contemplating it once again and I realized, I have no idea what I want to say to myself in 10 years from now. I have no idea what life will be like in 10 years. What questions do I have for my 60 year old self. What congratulations shall I give to her. I don’t even know where she lives so where would I even send it? (that’s rhetorical)

I could say… I hope you are living abundantly. I hope you have found the love of your life… your best friend. I hope you career is rewarding and amazing. I hope you are healthy and doing all the activities you enjoy. I hope you love your life even more than you did 10 years ago. I hope…

The point is, we don’t have a clue what life is bringing us tomorrow much less 10 years from now. I have worked so hard on learning how to live for today so how do I abandon that and send my mind 10 years into the future? I don’t.

I continue living for today. I continue making all the choices today that will bring all those future hopes to fruition. I continue to trust in my choices so that I can go forth with confidence and pride. I continue to live my life with integrity and positivity so that I am living to my fullest and truest potential.

I have gone through so many changes over the past 5 years. So many moments that have defined me. So many successes built on failures. So many oopsies and pivots. So many moments of pure joy and so many moments of deep darkness. And so much learning. So. Much. Learning. About me. About life. About knowing that the only day that matters is today.

I am the creator of that 60 year old self. And I am creating her with every moment I live. Today. She does not yet exist as she is a work in progress. She will always be a work in progress. And oh what fun I am having creating her.

But I like to follow the rules so here is my letter…

Dear 60 year old self… I love how happy you are.

The laws of attraction.

You cannot change the people around you, but you can change the people you chose to be around.”

Unknown

For most of my adult life I felt like I have taken care of people.  Given up attention for myself to focus on others.  Some needed my attention because they were learning.  Some needed my attention because they were lost.  Some needed my attention because they needed to be the center of the universe.  They needed my attention for various reasons but it left nothing for me.  I was okay with this role.  I even relished in it.  I was good at it.  I was good at taking the back seat and pushing others forward.  They needed me and it is always good to be needed.

But.  Eventually I realized that this was not healthy.  Nobody was taking care of me.  Including me.  I began by trying to choose my friends better.  Distancing myself from those that always needed me.  Always took from me.  Always had a problem that needed solving. This was not an easy task. The needy have a good nose. They could smell me from a mile away!

Now that I have been on my own for awhile, I have had the chance to focus my attention on what is important. I have given my attention freedom. Freedom to choose where it wants to wonder… where it wants to play. And of it’s own free will, it choose me.  It feels really good to take care of myself.  My vision.  My future.

I am making wiser choices every day about who I share this new and loyal attention with.  I have become selfish with that precious attention.  And it is precious.  It is valuable.  It has given me the confidence to become anything I want to be and accomplish anything I want to do.

Now here is the interesting part. Suddenly those needy noses didn’t seem to pick up my scent anymore. Suddenly I was attracting people who wanted me – not needed me. There is a difference. A very big difference. People who wanted to be with me, spend time with me, give back to me. Other confident and self assured people who valued me for who I am and not what I could do for them.

My take away on this… Taking care of yourself gives you the power to take care of other people properly. It also allows you to attract people that you want to take care of. There is nothing wrong with people needing you. But you need to be able to need them too. Every relationship you have should be a give and receive relationship. No exceptions. This is such a healthy and powerful place to be. I can make choices to be with people that don’t hurt me. I can make choices to surround myself with people that empower me. I can make choices.

Spend your time with those who value you. Not deplete you. Chose your friends. Chose your family. Chose yourself. First chose yourself.

Finding happy.

I have found a love and passion this past year for writing that I did not know existed. I had always wanted to try but lacked the courage and motivation. I began writing – or rather journaling – in 2019. My hardest, most challenging year so far. Writing was my meditation. My release. A way to get my thoughts out of my head so that I could try to make some sense of what was going on around me. It helped immensely.

Then I started to share my ‘ramblings’. I thought maybe if they helped me so much, they would help others. The response was heart warming. It made me want to share more. My thoughts. My failures. My successes. My sad and my happy.

Please allow me (like you have a choice) to share an excerpt taken from one of my favorite books, “This is Happy” by Camilla Gibb…

“I have a job to do as a storyteller: we all do. To tell stories that make us knowable to others, most importantly our children. To give them the tools to help them know themselves. And perhaps we come to know ourselves differently as a consequence.

This is the circle that could never quite be complete. One where we are truly bound for better or worse, in all sorts of complex and beautiful ways, where we become ourselves in relation to each other and carry something of the other—visceral, embodied—within us. It is a story with a different ending. A story without an ending at all.

And this, I know, is happy.”

Sharing my story and writing this blog has brought me so much more that I ever expected. Ever dared to dream. Come to think of it… it may have taught me exactly that… to dare to dream. To have dreams that I didn’t think I had the right to have. Goals that I thought were way beyond my reach. None of that is true. We all have the right to dream. To reach.

Today, January 1st, 2021, I would like to thank the people that have been by my side during this journey. My cheerleaders. My family. My friends. You are my biggest and brightest supporters. My warriors. Without you I would not have published this site a year ago today. Without you I would not have accomplished all the crazy, adventurous and courageous things that have filled my 2020 calendar. And without you I will not live all the dreams that will fill my next year and the years to come. Of this I am most sure.

I can’t wait to continue to share my story. To become knowable to you and those you are kind enough to share it with. In hopes that you become more knowable to yourself. That you travel your path with pride and confidence and hope. That you find and live, happy.

And through this and with this, I too am finding and living, happy.

Happy new year everyone. With love.

You don’t have to wear pants.

Merry Christmas Eve everyone. I hope this finds you all in good spirits. If it doesn’t… I get it. I really do.

This holiday season is definitely a different one. Marking the end of a very different year. A year where the world just simply seemed to find chaos around every corner. The news channels had no shortage of negative and dramatic stories to share giving us multiple reasons to panic. To fear. To grieve.

I myself actually had a pretty good year. And it wasn’t because business was booming. Or I won the lottery. Or my prince charming rode in on a white horse to save the day.

I had a good year because I stayed current on only enough news to keep me informed. I found ways to be with my friends and family. I made positive choices in my career. I had a good year because I chose to have a good year. I chose to focus on what is and not what could or should be.

Was it perfect? Bahahahahahahahahahahaha. Nope. (insert your favorite expletives’ on your own… I am trying to keep this clean.)

May it be noted that everyone in my circle is healthy and well. My heart goes out to anyone that has not had that fortune this year and has had to deal with the loss of a loved one.

Here are some other things that happened to me this year… I learned how to use zoom. I signed up for some courses that I have been putting off. I talked more on the phone with my family. I spent more time outdoors. I started running. I found the motivation to work out everyday at home. I discovered once again, that I am a strong and resilient human.

And… most of those things did not require me to wear pants!

So as we enter into this holiday season and prepare to say good bye to yet another year, remember. This year was temporary. As was last year and as is next year. Enjoy each day however you can. Find joy in simple and small things. Embrace the zoom and facetime calls. Embrace the slower pace that may be your holiday. Embrace your health and home. Practice gratitude.

For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Jeri Smith-Ready

You can get through this even if you can’t be with your children or your parents. You can get through this and you will.

With or without pants.

The vulnerability mountain.

“Vulnerability is not weakness. It is our greatest measure of courage.”

Brene Brown

Okay so we have talked about fear. We have talked about what we fear – rejection. Now let’s again, go a little deeper. What else do we fear?

Vulnerability. Being vulnerable. Why?

We are led to believe that vulnerability is weakness. And no one wants to be weak. So we swallow that vulnerability. We bury it deep inside ourselves and pretend vulnerability does not live here. But lets really think about it. Is it weak? Lets look at fear and rejection again. How hard is it to face those things? Fear and rejection bring us to a vulnerable place. And does facing them not require strength? Courage? Bravery?

Lets look at this as a mountain. We are standing on one side of the mountain. Vulnerability is on the other side. At the top of the mountain – in between us and vulnerability – is fear. To get to vulnerability, we need to climb that mountain and go through fear. So think about this. In order to get to vulnerability, we need to find courage, strength and bravery to climb a fricking mountain (fear) and get to the other side (vulnerability). Ergo, you need to be strong, courageous and brave in order to be vulnerable. Weak people can not climb mountains.

Let me share what makes me vulnerable.

I am not afraid to ask you what you mean if I don’t understand you. That does not make me weak. That gives me answers. And answers are what make me smarter. They are tools I need to climb the mountain.

I am not afraid to ask for your hand if I can’t get my footing. That does not make me weak. That gives me a team. And teammates are what make me stronger. They are tools I need to climb the mountain.

I am not afraid to tell you if I am upset. That does not make me weak. That makes me human. And my humanity helps me practice compassion. These are tools I need to climb the mountain.

Asking for answers, asking for help and communicating my feelings. These are all things that make me vulnerable but without these things, I am not gathering the tools I need to climb the mountain.

When we show people that we are vulnerable, they clearly see that we can climb mountains. And if they can’t, it is simply because they are still at the bottom and we have climbed too high for them to see us clearly. So should we fear vulnerability? Or should we wear it like the badge of honor that it is. Should we show others that we can climb mountains?

Yes please yes.

*This is part 3 of a 3 part post on fear, rejection and vulnerability. I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.