“The Town That Built Me” -Part One

I spent the Thanksgiving holiday back in my hometown with my family, it was the first time I have been back to Ocala, FLA in almost a year.  The trip was full of emotions and time to reflect on my life, something I seem to do more and more as I age.  I was born in Ocala but spent the first 13 years or so in Salt Springs, an area located about 20 minutes outside of Ocala in the Ocala National Forest. There was a store, a few small churches, some camping sites and a mom and pop restaurant that had the best cheeseburgers, not much has changed.  Those early years as a child living in the seclusion of the country side is the biggest reason I write so expressively now.  I spent most of my time under the swaying pines writing poems, and personal thoughts in my journal.  Miranda Lambert’s song “The House That Built Me” it that place where my first 13 years was spent and word for word that song carries so much meaning for me.

As I get older I feel a need to hold on to every memory and moment I spend with my family.  I see my mom and dad getting older and I can’t help but tear up to think how much I will miss them when they are gone.  I hate that I think that way but I find myself making more out of every conversation and every moment I have with them because of it.  I feel so lucky to have parents who care so much, who love me, who I can talk to and whom I can see so much of them in me.  I also love the time I spend with my beautiful sister, I was a pretty lousy sister as a child, I was older and was mean to her in so many ways, I am thankful she and I have such a wonderful relationship now.  Those early sister memories of our fights are now replaced with laughter when we get together.  I have found that with all the losses I have experienced over the past few years I cherish my family time, every laugh, every tear and every moment.

This Thanksgiving marked the first time in many years that I took a man home with me for my family to meet.  I know that sounds trivial but I am very protective of my time with them and this was a tremendous step for me.  This was the fifth guy in my life time (including my high school sweetheart) that I have introduced a significant other to my family in all my 45 years.  I am sure there were some young men in my teen and preteen years, but none come to mind at the moment.  I have to be honest and admit that deep down I used to believe that I was so horrible at relationships that I didn’t want my family to meet the men I dated.  I am sure it was because I had doubts about the longevity of those relationships.  I didn’t want them to see me fail because I didn’t want them to worry about me when I was dealing with the hurt.  That sounds weird to say out loud but I guess I didn’t want them to worry about me while I was dealing with a heartache, I wanted them to see me as a strong independent woman who didn’t need someone to take care of me.  Perhaps I am not ready to dive into that part of “ME” discovery, I am sure there is something deeper to learn there but I will save that for a future post.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Am I "The Jack of All Trades and the Master on None?"

Wow how time flies!  It has been a long time since I have written and as most of you know I have been extremely busy with a flood relief I started called ReTune Nashville.  I have missed writing and the release I get putting down my thoughts and sharing with others.  This is the first week in more than 5 months that I have had any free time due to the time it has taken to keep ReTune Nashville, my teaching and photography moving forward.  So with all that said I have been pondering many things this week with this much needed down time.

The past few days I have come to notice how little credit I give myself for what I have accomplished in my life.  I never doubted my self as a child until I became a teenager. Before becoming a teen, when I wanted something I knew all I had to do is work hard and I would get it…like the time I won “Queen” of my school, it had nothing to do with popularity it had to do with how much I could sell and I sold a lot because I had no doubt I could!  For some reason when I became a teenager all that confidence melted into self doubt.  I still feel so often like that teenage kid wanting to be something bigger than I am but not having the confidence to believe that I deserve it.  At times I still, after all these years and all this self-work have very little confidence in myself.  What I have learned is that when I feel that way, I am usually comparing myself to someone I admire who has done more.  The funny thing is I can bet that all those that I admire have at times felt these same inferior, uncomfortable moments of self judgment, after all we are all human….right?

I can’t understand why I do this to myself, I think it is good sometimes to compare my accomplishments to someone I admire when it allows me to self motivate and work harder toward a goal but when I feel like I have let myself down, not worked hard enough or been fortunate enough to make the right career decisions, that is when I get mad at myself.  All my life I have heard people say “your so talented or your so lucky your a creative person or is there anything you can’t do.”  The reality is none of that registers to me because all I see is “your the jack of all trades and the master of none!”  I think in my own mind I have always wanted to have a specialty, to have that one thing I was extremely passionate about and really good at, that one thing I could take to the highest level possible and share with others.  Instead I find I allow myself to get to a certain point with one thing and then I switch gears into something else.  I have always blamed it on a short attention span and I do get bored very easily but the truth is in my older age if I look hard enough there may be some fear hidden in that shifter.  Yes, as much as I hate to admit it perhaps I am setting my own self fulfilling prophecy by listening to that little voice say I am not good enough, to doubt my abilities, to allow myself to believe it is not possible or that I don’t deserve it then shifting gears so I don’t have to face the idea of failing.  In an attempt to believe I am not scared of failure I make big changes in my life so on the surface I look as though I am fearless…wow as I write this I am questioning my thoughts and wondering could this all be true.

Perhaps I should ponder this a bit before sharing anymore, maybe I have said just enough for you to start pondering for yourself about yourself.  When you really look at most really successful people they have continued to move forward in their desire even when they are failing, some are lucky to get the success they want quickly and others may take years but eventually they get there.  I am not giving up on anything but maybe because I am always switching gears and now aware enough to ponder that, I might have some success in just thinking about it!  I still have to question am I “The Jack of All Trades and the Master of None?”  I will keep thinking and sending love out to all of you in the process, it is good to be back!

What are we subconsciously sharing with the world?

Recently in a moment of awareness I discovered that it is easier to see the negative nature of others than it is to see my own negativity. I realized a few months back that I was deliberately putting out there that I did not want to be in a relationship when in fact I do, I was too scared to admit it to myself. The truth is I love being in a relationship, I enjoy having one man in my life and have never enjoyed dating several people while in search of a fit. I made a conscious decision over the past two years that I wanted to make healthier choices and the key for me was to become completely comfortable with myself first by not dating. In doing so I convince myself I didn’t want to date, but in truth I wanted to become a healthier person first so that I could attract a healthy person into my life. I needed to feel confident that I wanted a man to enhance my life not complete me, so my struggle was to feel complete first before allowing myself to date. When you begin to establish self love you begin to have self confidence. When you have self confidence you are much more aware of the people around you and your ability to make better choices, not only in dating but also in friendships. You begin to make healthier decisions because you are relying on your inner confidence by paying attention to inner feelings that come up while you are around other people. I believe it is all based on energy, if I am positive in my thinking my energy is higher and I will attract healthy, positive people in to my life. If I believe I am worthy of love then love will find me, if I believe I don’t deserve love then I won’t. I see the same thing working with friendship and business relationships, by believing they exist and that I deserve them I begin attracting healthy minded people into my life.

My decision to not date for a while was a healthy one, two years ago I made a list with all of the things I wanted in a man, I made it so detailed in fact that I had to laugh with the thought of how such a person could actually exist. It seemed as though I was being so picky that no one could have all those characteristics in real life, still I had read somewhere to do the exercise because it worked…so I did. I started to feel a shift in my thoughts several months ago when I realized that by saying to others out loud I did not want to date I was not being true to what I felt inside. The truth was that I did not care to date just anyone I wanted to meet the right one for me and I didn’t want to have to weed through men to find that one. I had so much fear of getting hurt there was no way I would attract someone into my life because I was putting negative energy out unknowingly. I believe when we are struggling with these sort of subconscious issues we put out mixed signals with our talking, tone of voice and body language. I want to be in a committed relationship and I was scared to admit my actual fear was if I found someone I was crazy about and told the world, I would be embarrassed that I exposed myself if the relationship fell apart. I didn’t want people to see my vulnerable side and I would then have to admit I was wrong. I was living in this fear and it was not even a reality. I was self projecting without even knowing it and I was not giving myself a chance of what if, because I was already focused on the negative. By saying I did not want to date I was hiding and hiding makes it easy to look good but by hiding you can not be found. We can not find the right person without allowing ourselves to look, to make mistakes and to try again. We must learn to trust not only others but ourselves. I had finally become very comfortable with my singleness and with allowing myself the possibility of what might be out there. Around the time I was having these thoughts I noticed something very interesting about myself…I had unknowingly started watching a lot of romantic comedies. The reason this is interesting is that for over a year I did not want to see anything showing love, intimacy or couples because it would bring up my inner loneliness and my fear that I would never find the right guy. In reality it had nothing to do with anyone else, I just lacked self confidence and my “Self Talk” needed to change. I needed to believe there was someone out there for me and feel it was true rather than believe no such man existed. It made me sad to see others in love because I wanted to experience that so badly but deep down I had doubts that I deserved love because I lacked the confidence to admit I was good enough or that it existed. I coped by telling everyone I didn’t want a relationship and that I loved being single. I knew that I needed the time to work on myself, on my thinking and to become a healthier individual but I was also putting a very negative message out to keep my heart safe. When you have the ability to become aware of your negative self conscious “Talk”, just that awareness can begin shifting your thoughts. I then noticed I had all of a sudden started watching movies about love and I no longer felt lonely, instead I felt happy because I felt there was a possibility that love would come into my life because I knew I was living in a better mind set. I felt an inner confidence focusing on the excitement of being in a relationship rather than the negative feeling of believing the right man was not out there for me. I started to believe that wonderful feeling of sharing my life with a partner again would someday exist. I smiled thinking of what that would feel like and what the possibility of love could bring into my life. I know this all may sound silly but I really do feel it is all on the way I have to trust it will happen as it should and just focus on feeling good no matter what.

Another thing that showed me a shift in my thinking was the birth of ReTune Nashville. For years I have asked for and prayed that something would come into my life that would allow me to give back, not just a financial give but a giving of myself to others with out expecting anything in return. ReTune was an accident brought on by a silly idea originating from an unplanned, unfortunate event…a flood. The inner fulfillment this project has brought to me so far is beyond words and we are not even half way to achieving our mission. It has only strengthened my belief in prayer and in positive thinking, we don’t always get what we want right away or when we think we need it. Sometimes someone else knows better when things are supposed to come into being, we just have to believe it is on the way and that it is happening exactly as it should.

What I am attempting to share here is that we need to really pay attention to what we are putting out there, what are we subconsciously sharing with the world? We need to pay attention to our thoughts, what we say and our response to sensitive issues. We often operate in auto pilot repeating ideas and thoughts that may not be as positive as we think. We may be unconsciously putting negative ideas out there because it has over time become a mechanism to protect our hearts from being hurt. We may be playing it safe without even knowing it by operating from fear of what happened in the past. If we open our hearts, take chances and experience the possibility of wonderful things we allow ourselves to experience life not just live it. If we are playing it safe for fear of making a wrong decision or getting our heart broke chances are we are not really living our full potential. If we are experiencing happiness our energy is higher and better things are more likely to come our way and to continue.

I want to live from this point on as if it were my last day on earth. I want to create more, give more, share more and love deeper than I have ever done in my past. The worst thing that can happen is I could fall down a few times but I still have the strength to get up and keep trying so there is absolutely no excuse for my not creating an extraordinary life for myself, even now at 45.

How about you, what are you saying to yourself that could be turned around in a way to make you feel stronger and happier. Pay attention to things that don’t feel good and become aware of what your self conscious mind is saying. Be honest with yourself and with others in a positive way and I can assure you that your life will become a happier place. Give it a try and let me know what you find out! Sending love out to all of you, now it is your turn to spread the word and make a difference!

Who am I…Part 1!

So much has happened lately, the emotions brought on by the flood, seeing people hurt and rebuild, watching people join together and the strange birth from out of no where of ReTune Nashville into my life.  I have had many moments of self reflection and with each moment I keep thinking of the gift of life and the road that led me here.  For me there is a newly found happiness of just being, I am happy 95% of the time with an occasional bad mood but I realize I am in charge of my mood so it has become easier to react to things based on how I want to feel.  Feeling good happens when I am in a good mood therefore I choose to be in a good mood no matter what.

For some reason the same two questions continue popping up in my mind. Who am I?  What is my purpose?  After all this time it is these two questions that never seem go away completely.  Even when I feel I have found myself, discovered a secret to life and maybe even stumbled upon my purpose. There will be a point in time where these questions will resurface because life is continuous, always moving in a forward direction even when I don’t feel that it is.  I thought mine was on hold the past 9 years but looking in the mirror at the lines slowly collecting around my eyes I am reminded that time is marching on.

So my story is clear, it is all the things I have done, places I have been, people who have filtered through my life in various ways over time and how I have allowed all of my choices to lead my life to where I am right now.  But who I am?  I am what I think I am and I do believe that sometimes it is not what others see.  So often we filter in opinions of our self based on a false meaning from what someone said or how we interpreted what someone said.  Who we are is up to us, we have a choice in how we see ourselves and we have a choice in what we choose to believe.

Who am I?  I do know that this is and will continue to change until the day I die because time will not stop as long as I am breathing. I am a woman who loves her family.  They are and will always be the most important part of me (even if Mom thought it was cute to dress me as a skunk for halloween).  I am a very open minded person yet at times I feel I am somehow trapped by my conservative upbringing.  Yes I marvel over those who can ink up their bodies in grande displays, not because they have the balls to do it but because they have the courage to be who they believe they are no matter how others look at them.  I am a woman who feels deeply and wants to give of myself more now than I have ever wanted in my past.  I know I am intelligent although at times I feel really dumb at certain things.  I feel attractive at times but I continue to question my identity with hopes of one day secretly winning a makeover and rediscovering a diamond that I always knew was there I just had no idea how to make it shine.  I am always trying to find ways to challenge my mind and to make money through what I love but I also have found a new joy in being quiet and living simple.  I love to talk when I am around those I know but when I am around strangers I am shy and reserved.  I feel healthy, I enjoy my work outs most every day, I feel better when I eat better and I love my dog.  I have, for the first time in my life become completely content with being single and although I would love to be asked out on occasion by someone I am attracted to I feel no panic in my lack of men or my not being in a relationship.  I believe when it is time it will happen and that it is all happening exactly as it should.  I am for the first time in my life living with no worry of where my career or time will take me, I have goals and dreams but I am ok with how things fall into place because I believe that there is something bigger guiding me in the right direction.  I trust my forward path will be as it should because I am healthier in my thinking, I am spiritual and I know I am being guided.  I have embraced self love in ways I never thought I could and I believe it has given me not only confidence but also restored happiness to my life that was missing for a very long time.  Most of all I have found an enormous amount of love with in me and it makes me want to pass it on knowing how powerful that is and how good it feels.

Perhaps I am just a bunch of words, and what if I am, what if to me words are just a way for me to cope and to grow.  What if words are also my secret gift to others without even knowing it.  Often as I am writing I imagine myself as the narrator of a movie, a simple story of an average person living an average life, but it is how the words are expressed that matters, that is also what makes the story stand on its own.  Words have the potential to make a story unfold but they also have the ability to make you feel the story.  The truth is my story really doesn’t matter to you.  Who am I?  Who are you?  What is your story?  Can you tell me in a way that will make me feel, can you tell your love ones things in ways that make them feel, what is it that they are feeling from your story.  Is it a good story, if not how can it be?  Maybe we would all be in a better place, perhaps a happier place if we thought about our story and spoke it in a way where people not only felt it but it brought a smile.  You are your story so start creating, the past is the past it doesn’t carry meaning unless you allow it to.  Think about it….I am!

An image from the flood that sparked an endeavor for hope…

The past  week here in Nashville I have been filled with fear, sadness, guilt and anger.  Friday night started with heavy rain and wind, a combination that always gets me nervous on this hill when there is worry of tornadoes.  For two days I was glued to the internet and tv watching as the water started to rise, mopping up the leaky windows and the creek that ran through my basement.  I was in fear that my home would be damaged but believed that this hill would save me from the fate so many have had to face, it did.  The fate of loosing every thing you have that you believe makes you, you.  I have felt sadness, I have cried every day and my heart has felt heavy with the images of what is and will be around us for a while.  I have felt guilt for the mere fact that I was spared and am so very fortunate that I still have a home, that my life will be back to normal much quicker than many.  And I was angered that the national news media like CNN did not seem to think this was newsworthy enough for more coverage.  They barely mentioned the water rising, the danger, the rescues or the struggles people were facing and we need outside awareness with hopes of donations for those who have lost everything.  Many of the people here did not have flood insurance and I fear that will be the worst part in the rebuilding of their lives.  The past day or two our complaints were met with apologies and we are NOW finally getting much more national coverage.

Through all of the emotions I have felt this week one has and will be with me through what ever lies ahead and that is love.  I love this city, I love the people here and with that love I will do what ever I can to help those who are in need.  Everyone is offering their time and money to help others, I have never seen such an outpouring of love amongst strangers.  I have donated the past two days to the Red Cross shooting PR for the the disaster relief efforts.  But Wednesday night as I laid in bed wondering how I could do something positive in this time of sadness, a single image online of a guitar sitting among the debris sparked an idea that I know will be a positive endeavor and will raise money for victims who lost everything.

As many of you know I have a soft heart for anything art related. Songwriting, music, photography, drawing, painting and mixed media are what I love and what I induldge in  when I am in need of an outlet.  I enjoy being around creative people and love any opportunity to bridge the gap of music and art.  At 7:30 AM Thursday I began putting my ideas into an email that I sent to 50 friends to see if they though it was worthy.  Four hours later it had been forwarded to more than 2000 people and climbing.  My idea is now in planning and I believe it is taking flight as we speak.  I will launch the details in the next few days,  it involves taking the musical items that are to be disposed of from the flood, distributing them to designated artist to be transformed into art which will then be sold and the proceeds will go to the flood victims.  I have had 100 emails today just about this project and my phone has rang off the hook.  I will need a lot of help and that help is coming by the minute.  The next  two days I will be working on a name for this event and putting the project into an outline.  Once that happens with the help of others we will post the details, plan the committees, start the FB page and begin the stages for the launch of what I know will be an amazing opportunity to give back.

I want to bring music and art together in a way that has not been done before, I want to gain media coverage for a cause that will bring hope to those who are in need.  With this project I want to celebrate that Nashville is one of the most creative places to live, that we work together as if we were family, that we do what ever we can for those in need and most of all that we have love in our hearts for our people and our community.  I love this town more than I ever imagined I could and I know that this difficult time will only make our people and our city better and stronger.  Sending love and prayers to you all…stay tuned!