A new day….

This morning I laid in bed and watched as the beautiful pink and purple colors surrounded the skyline. I felt completely relaxed, content, peaceful and happy. I watched as the light intensified into bright orange as the sunlight took over and a new day began….spring is in the air!

Last night I awoke in the middle of the night gasping for air, my heart was beating fast and felt as though it would jump right out of my chest. It was one of those dreams where out of no where your body is reacting as if a tragic event has happened. I was crying, I was feeling deep sadness, hurt and uncontrollable pain in the center of my chest. It was the kind of pain you feel when someone close to you dies, that impending feeling of loss, of grief…of despair. Before I had full control over my thoughts I was aware of the person in my dream, I knew him, he was from my past over 14 years ago. He was someone I never dreamed about, at least not anymore.

At first he was pulling away, I was acting my normal goofy self, playful, happy trying to get him to laugh. He seemed distant, was not amused and grumpy. Finally, I called him out and told him to lighten up, those words were what started my immediate pain and eventually the reason I awoke. “I’ve been seeing someone else,” he said…the words came out easily for him, easier than any words I had ever heard him speak.

He was a quiet man, one who rarely talked, unless it was about fishing or basketball. He never shared personal emotions. I don’t remember him being that way in the beginning but at this point in our lives, ten years of learning who he was he had two personalities…one was vulgar and one was anger. When he was speaking those words he was calm, spoke clearly and watched quietly as my emotional state disintegrated in an instant. I said nothing, I just felt a sharp pain in my chest and panic set in. My whole body hurt and I began to cry. As I turned to leave the room he said something, I can’t remember what it was but I remember how it made me feel. He was trying as he always did to make me feel guilty, to blame me for his actions, to make me feel as though I had treated him bad, had not given him what he wanted and had drove him to this…then he began getting angry, the tone in his voice changed and that was when I realized it was a dream.

All the deep emotions I had when I left him more 14 years ago surfaced at that moment, the sadness, the hurt, the heartbreak and despair. All but one….anger. In the dream as I was waking up I remember thinking this will make it easier, I now have a reason he will understand, he will finally have a clear reason of why I am choosing to move on, this is a very good thing. I sat up in bed and started crying out loud, I asked as if someone was in the room…where in the world did that dream come from?

The strange thing about my dream last night is that as far as I know my ex husband never cheated on me. I did learn after our separation that he had lied when we met, he was living with a woman that he “had” dated even though I was led to believe he was living with a bunch of guys in a house across town.

I have no idea what triggered that dream to happen, our minds are very strange in how they work. What I do know is that having the courage to leave that person because of the verbal abuse I was experiencing, regardless of how much I loved him was by far the best life choice I have ever made. I held onto anger for a number of years. I have worked very hard to earn back my self dignity, my ability to love myself and to know who I am and what I deserve. I have also worked hard to forgive and to let go of the anger. Perhaps that dream was my test. I laid in bed for 30 minutes before falling back asleep, I was afraid at first I would settle back into the dream. I smiled as I laid there because I realized not only did I not feel anger in that moment I had not gotten angry in the dream.

I guess the reason I am sharing this with you is that I realize now how holding on to anger affects your overall happiness in life. When you have those feelings toward someone else you never truly let go of them or the pain. Letting go allows you to have space for good things to reside. If you are holding on to any anger or resentment figure out how to let it go, I promise it will set you free and allow so many new and wonderful things to happen.

Today is a new day and I feel great! I am ready to make this day count and I hope that you will do the same! Sending love as always….pass it on!

Marching on as I embrace age…

March mark’s the beginning of spring, daylight savings time and my birthday. Most of my adult life I was never very excited about birthdays because I did not like the attention that they brought. When I hit 40 and kept hearing all my friends complain about the aging process, I decided I would embrace my age by celebrating so for a few years I really made the event public, had some big parties at the thinking diva treehouse and made the celebration last for weeks. The past few years I continue to embrace the changes that come with aging but I have again gone into a bit of hiding when it comes to celebrating.

Recently as I was spending my quiet Sunday reflecting and awaiting my Super Soul Sunday time on OWN I suddenly felt extremely lonely. I realized that although I have a lot of wonderful friends I don’t have one that I would feel comfortable calling in a moment of need. Most of those who I once felt close to have become intertwined in serious relationships. Although they are still very close friends I would not feel the same sharing with them, that close connection no longer feels so relevant and I would feel I was a bother. As time marches on so do the relationships we build, it is a beautiful thing because I believe the timing of those people being in our lives as they come and go is exactly as it has been planned by that of a higher power. When I look back I had the right people in my life at the right time. Still at times like on that Sunday I question my inner strength. Being so much of an introvert I often feel distanced from others, facebook is a bit of a void yet when faced with the reality like on that Sunday I realized how alone I feel at times. It took me a moment to realize I was really not alone, I remember feeling the frustration and almost panic of not having anyone to talk to in my moment then I realized my best friend, the one I felt I was actually connecting with in THAT moment, that internal connection, that internal voice…was what I believe to be God. I love when those moments occur, I cherish what ever that is, I assume a moment of “SPIRIT”.

I think the biggest thing I hate about aging other than loosing my vanity is watching my parents get older and knowing they will someday no longer be here. It is something that brings me to tears with just the thought and often I have to push it in the back of mind knowing it is always there. As we grow older we experience more loss, we see our friends and partners deal with the loss of their parents and we know that as a part of life, death can not be avoided. Although it hurts we somehow overcome the result of the pain and keep the memories of what once was dear to our hearts in our memories. Someday we will all be memories..then eventually we will no longer be as time will continue to march on and generations pass. This Tuesday, tomorrow I will find out if my Dad has cancer. I am nervous, scared and sad. I am hopeful but don’t want to see any of my family suffer. It is a new place for me and a place I don’t care to be although I have no choice, what ever the outcome I want to be there for him. I had not planed to share that with anyone, but at the same time I started this page to share regardless of the topic. I have felt really emotional since he told me of the biopsy. I lost a whole week with the flu last week and it made me realize how extremely important good health is to our quality of life. Having felt that all last week I am grateful for feeling better but anxious for the result of what lies ahead for my dad. I know so many friends and family members who have already had to deal with these things so I know as life marches on the right people will once again come into my life as I need them. I trust that in my life and I honor how life works so perfectly through all of the ups and downs.

So, as I embrace another birthday I am that much more grateful for each time I get a phone call from mom, from dad, from my sister and from my nephew because I love them all so much. I feel so blessed that they are all still here and want to cherish every moment I have. I wish sometimes I could just stop time to embrace their presence in my life but knowing that can’t happen I have to be grateful at all times for what I have now. I am also grateful for everything I have out side of my family, for all of the people in my life and that includes all of you. Thank you for listening, for wanting to believe there is more and for giving more love. Lets pass on all that we can that is positive so that we can leave something good behind even if it feels so small. Have a wonderful week, sending love….

A genius shuffle that sparked emotional discovery…

Sunday morning I went to the greenway with Big D and took along my new Apple Nano. When I added music from my iTunes library instead of being specific I chose several of the “Genius” mixes that iTunes created for me. As we began our walk I hit play and was completely surprised to hear a familiar yet very old melody. The first song was an oldie by Jim Croce, he was by far one of my favorites as a child. His songs seemed to speak to me even though many of them had lyrics I really didn’t understand because of my age. As I listened I felt a rush of calmness yet sadness run through me. I tried to evaluate my emotions, it was the reflection back to my childhood and that missing part of me, the innocence, the curiosity with everything around me and the lack of knowing what life teaches us as an adult. We don’t have the same worries or desires as a child and it reminded me of the simple times. I grew up in a very remote area on a lake, my best friends were God and nature and I spent much of my time alone entertaining myself with bugs, leaves, water and anything else that was available in the great outdoors. I also wrote my feelings down all of the time, I was a deeply reflective and thoughtful child. We change as we grow older,we become what we surround ourselves around but I also believe that the core of who we are is based on what we experienced from the age of 3-10 years old and how we processed all that happened in that time. As I listened to the song I smiled at how it made me feel inside, pure goodness.

The next song was Pat Benatar, memories of my first car, driving with the music loud and singing at the top of my lungs. Then Maroon 5…I remembered everything I missed and loved about TG. The sadness, his struggle, the way he touched me, his smile and how he died. As the walk went on and the music shuffled through song after song I was introduced to others from my past, some are no longer alive, I was reminded of different things within myself. With every word and melody that trickled through my headset, each song made me feel something deeply embedded inside.

Music has always been an important part of my life, I listen to the lyrics and the ones that become my favorite are usually because I can relate to what is being said…other times it is just a great melody and it makes me feel good. I believe that music is the universal language because even if we don’t understand what is being said we can still connect. Sunday’s walk reminded me that there are memories deeply hidden with in us that reflect our life journey. If you are like me and choose to find goodness in even the bad times then when sadness hits you, your choose to feel, accept and smile knowing that those experiences made you who you are today. If you love yourself that will bring a smile to your face. Memories are a true gift from God in my opinion and I am still amazed at how many are tucked away just waiting to come out. There is something so beautiful in knowing that out of nowhere you can be reminded of something from your past.

When I got home I had a knock on my door. It seems that music inspired a friend to stop by my house because the song she heard on the radio on the way home from church reminded her of me…even though the first time we heard the song at the same time was when she played it for me, it enticed me to create a ringtone from it. Since that ringtone was created that song reminds several others of me now, interesting how we relate odd things to events or people in our lives!

As I leave you let me offer you a chance to stir up your emotions and actually feel something deep inside. Pull out that old photo album, or box of old pictures and take a look. Set your iPod or iTunes library to shuffle and feel what each song has the ability to create for you. The opportunity to allow an old memory to resurface will stir your soul and remind you that you are still alive. That ability to feel something that deep might upset you, make you laugh or make you mad but it is the emotion of those FEELINGS that often break the monotony and numbness of living our lives on autopilot. Those emotions that old memories stir up might actually teach you something about yourself! Sending love out to all of you…pass it on!

A silly little incident that reminded me to love “ME” for who I am…

Recently something happened that I am still trying to process. It feels as if that little insecure girl came back out of no where in a split second and has lingered restlessly for more than a week now. I make an effort to go to mixers each week to meet people in hopes of drumming up new business opportunities. At a recent event I ran into someone I vaguely knew, there was a group of us around and I was chatting about something when this person made a goofy reference to my speech impediment (lisp) like the first graders in grade school used to do. It only lasted a split second, I acted as if I did not hear it, finished my conversation and moved on. It didn’t seem apparent that anyone noticed the reference or my discomfort but in that moment everything I felt in grade school came back to me full fold as if it were yesterday. Most of you who know me have noticed my lisp, it is very evident when I speak and I am full aware of it, it is something I really struggled with as a child. It only affects me when I allow it to in my own mind, I have a choice. It comes to my attention from time to time but with age I have learned it is just one of those things I accept as a gift to be different. While I don’t enjoy seeing myself on camera and hated being interviewed numerous times by the media when ReTune Nashville was in full force, I accept this flaw and usually do not allow it to affect me personally. So why did this silly little incident resonate within me in such a way?

As a child my speech impediment was very hard to deal with (referenced in the earlier 3/2/10 Thinking Diva post). It made me feel different, it made me stand out and kids were often brutal when it came to embarrassing me around others, I was different and they wanted to be sure that I knew it. What we don’t realize when we are young is that being different is not a bad thing, that judgement by others shouldn’t matter and that often those differences cause us to be stronger, more motivated and successful people because we work harder despite our misgivings. I feel as if my experiences with these unkind kids as a child made me tougher on the outside even though on the inside I was insecure and sad. I don’t remember talking to my parents as a kid about these issues and I don’t recall ever sharing my sadness with any of my friends. I believe this is the normal way we deal with painful things as children because we don’t want to bring any more attention to the already uncomfortable issue. I have to wonder if those unkind kids showed any signs of their nastiness at home in front of their parents or were they also able to keep those traits invisible from their parents recognition.

As this reminder was presented to me at this mixer, in the moment, deep inside me, the first thought was embarrassment, it was as if a gun went off and triggered those horrible low self-esteem thoughts I had about myself as a first grader. Within a split second my next thought was, FU you immature jerk. Yes, that is what I thought in the moment and then I tried to let it go. Now, over a week later I am unsure why I am still thinking about this silly little incident but I am pondering the possibility that I am supposed to learn something from this reminder of my past. I don’t believe it has anything to do with the way I talk because I can’t change that but I do believe it is important for me to remind myself to love me for who I am. That is where I have to continue nurturing my self, to realize I have a choice to make what others say mean something or to allow myself to make it mean nothing. Again I am reminded of the power of our thoughts.

As we all know our world today is much different than it was 30+ years ago. I have thought endlessly the past week about the difficulties young kids must be dealing with when it comes to self-esteem and self-worth. With FB and the internet so prevalent, the unkindness of others can cover a much larger spectrum making an already sad individual feel much more horrible about themselves. We have all heard of the word “Bullying” in the media and it has lead to incredibly devastating events in our society such as suicide and murder. In my day, low-self esteem or a fight was what came from others acting out in an unkind way. I have never understood why an individual feels it is necessary to talk down to a person, to humiliate or to be mean to another person. I do realize there are times when we act this way in defense of someone else acting in the same manner but I have never seen it help the matter at hand in a positive way. Perhaps my mother reminding me as a child to always act toward others as I would want them to act towards me gave me some insight. To put myself in the other persons shoes and think about what that might feel like before I say or do something toward someone else. Perhaps these simple reminders as a child helped me to become the kind and generous person I feel I am now.

Today’s tv seems to exude negativity and that in turn seems to create negativity in our culture. Why can’t we all just live from kindness and with love towards each other. Why do we have to be in everyone else’s business and why can’t we take accountability for our own actions rather than always blaming others? I have to believe that unkindness and judgement by others is mimicked in some way by how they were treated growing up, by what they learn at home, by what they are watching on tv and by what they learn from others. I am not a parent so forgive me if this is out of line but is it really possible to NOT see ugly traits in our kids if they do exist, perhaps they are not seen because they exist in the one looking? I often wonder how much time parents are spending in the lives of their kids, what are they allowing their kids to watch on tv or to do in their spare time. I believe if we were better role models, kinder individuals and lived with integrity, others would want to mimic those things because they would see the inner happiness those things bring to the individuals who possess them.  If we stopped watching all the negative things on tv and decided to spend quality time sharing kindness and love with each other how different could our lives be? I wish every person out there would learn what the word integrity means and for once live within it. If those folks who feel it necessary to hurt or insult others would transform that negativity into kindness imagine the possibilities.

Maybe I have gotten off on a tangent here but it all seems to come down to what I continue to speak from…love and kindness = happiness. I won’t allow myself to be a victim, to feel sorry for myself or to feel less of a person because of what someone else did that made me uncomfortable. My goal is to share my often uncomfortable experiences with others in hopes of making one person out there make a step towards being a better and happier person within themselves. Weather you were OR are the bully or the bullied remind yourself that you and others deserve kindness. Put yourself in the others shoes and take a look at what that might feel like. If you have anger inside towards someone else consider letting it go and see what can happen once it leaves you. Most of all remember we get out of life what we give. If we are unhappy we are probably making others unhappy too and will continue to be unhappy. If we are living in anger we are more than likely making others angry as well and will continue to be angry.  Change the cycle and make a difference, you have that choice.

I feel completely comfortable in my life right now because I make an effort every day to be kind and to be happy on the inside and out, it is my cognitive choice, it feels good and I want all of you to feel that goodness too. Take a moment to think, to be quiet, to feel and to be. Life is a gift, we are here to share, to love and to learn but most of all to be happy. Sending love out to all of you…pass it on!

Reflecting on a year of giving, completing the chapter and moving forward…

I found myself feeling really emotional tonight, at times sad, a few tears but with a huge feeling or content, maybe even relief. Tomorrow (June 7) at 9 A.M. ReTune Nashville will come to a close, although there will be some small responsibilities until next year the bulk of what we set out to do as a flood relief will be over.

It all started with a small idea that went viral and before I knew it I was deep into a project that would change my life for an entire year. 81 visual artist volunteered their time and talent to create beautiful one of a kind items from flood damaged instruments that were saved from the landfills. Musicians and songwriters came forward even after loosing their prize possessions and donated their gear to help. Businesses and independent sponsors came forward and helped us keep the project going so that we did not have to spend money that was raised through our art sales. And the volunteers…so many people put time into this project simply to help and not a penny was profited independently. We sold every piece of art (over 100 items) created over the course of one year from start to finish. We donated $6,000.00 to MusiCares flood relief and another $6,000.00 to the Nashville Musicians Flood Relief Fund the end of last year…tomorrow we will donate the rest of what we have raised and announce that number to the public and the media.

When I experienced the flood first hand a year ago and saw how it brought the community together in Nashville, it renewed my belief that there is still goodness in us all as human beings. Sometimes we have to be reminded through the humility and loss of others how fragile life is and how in a second it can all change. With the constant negative media coverage of our world and all its happenings, the drama our tv’s constantly embed with the click of a channel and the hostility that seems to be internalized in so many people it is often easy to lose focus.

I have never lost my worldly possessions to a natural disaster although I walked away form a verbally abusive marriage and most of my belongings many years ago. My life has had it’s ups and downs, most of my struggles have been self inflicted by bad choices and unhealthy decisions. I openly admit that I struggled with depression in private most of my life but in 2008 I faced several life changing events including a tragedy that set me on a new path of love and gratitude. In that period of healing I stopped focusing on all the negative things and began believing that if I wanted to feel good I needed to be honest with myself and figure out what it was that could actually make me happy. I started by learning to love myself, by accepting all the things I couldn’t change and focusing on the things I could. Where I stand now I have found it isn’t money, it isnt a relationship and it has nothing to do with success. It is having the ability to be grateful in a way that brings tears to your eyes. It is wanting to be happy so badly that it becomes contagious and for me it is offering help to others without any expectations. That was how ReTune Nashville started as it entered my life and it has changed me.

Baby steps have lead me to where I am right now. I can say that I have found more pride and satisfaction out of this one project than anything I have done in my life. Perhaps it is because it has nothing to do with me, maybe it is knowing I am helping others or the wonderful feeling of community it has created for all those involved. All I know right now is that it has lit a fire in me that will continue to spread, if I had more money in my bank account I would dedicate my life to humanity as a philanthropist but the world will have to settle for my creativity and volunteerism for right now!

Thank you to everyone out there who believed, who gave and who passed it on, you all are the reason that ReTune Nashville was a success and I am so very grateful to each and every one of you. This chapter is now complete…lets see what the next has to offer.

Sending love out to you all…..