Making sense of negativity and creating positive change…

For two days now I have awoken with feelings of sadness, my heart aches for all those children and teachers who died friday in such a senseless manner. Like so many people I believe we are all trying to understand in disbelief why these kinds of things happen. In a world that reflects war, poverty, illness and abuse how do these horrific things keep happening in a country designed around opportunity and freedom?

I studied journalism in college and wanted to be a photo journalist for my first 2 years until I realized that most of what I would be doing was reporting sad stories. Later I received a BS in Art Education but was saddened inside the public school system with the despair within the family life of so many of my students, the heartbreak was too heavy for me. Not wanting to be constantly reminded of the negative part of our culture I opted to be a commercial photographer. I fight constantly to avoid watching the news, I am drawn to knowing what is happening in our world but have realized in my studies of metaphysics and spiritual awareness that too much exposure leads to negative energy and judgement. With all the media coverage on the event in Connecticut we can’t seem to avoid anger and we search for blame that comes with tragedy, it’s all over tv, facebook and twitter. Gun laws will be challenged, people will be criticized and religion will be judged because after all how could GOD allow such a thing to happen. How do we take such negativity and create positive change?

What I say from here forward will be honest yet opinionated. It is only my presumption which I am entitled to as you are to yours. It is not intended to challenge or hurt any one. It is my voice only and comes from my beliefs, experiences and my hope for some sort of understanding of what life is teaching me, I share for the sole purpose of possibly bringing positive awareness though negative experiences.

I believe we are living in a time of mass separation. We are being challenged not by God but by what we as humans have created. We are allowing money, judgement, fear and anger to lead us, to overtake our ability to think clearly. Individually we are not taking accountability for our actions and we are being influenced by tv shows, media and technology not by our own internal soul. We are becoming numb because of overstimulation and operating outside of ourselves not internally where our true humanity lies. We are desensitizing our youth because of what we are allowing them to experience during their developmental and cognitive years. I believe mental illness is a result of this not because people are weak or going crazy but because their minds are being conditioned from all that is available from the outside world way to young not to mention everyone is being medicated.

It is time to set some boundaries and make some changes, if you haven’t read the book “Boundaries” by Cloud/Townsend I recommend you start there, especially as a parent!!! I am not a parent so many will say I am not entitled to an opinion on parenting, I respect that opinion. I have however studied some areas of phycology and sociology and I have always been intrigued by human nature and the power of our minds. I believe through my own personal work that our personalities develop from the experiences we have from birth until around 6-8 years old. We put meaning, both negative and positive to events that happen in those years and generate life time thinking patterns, fears and beliefs based on how we process all of those events. Our parents beliefs also influence how we process things during that time of cognitive development. If we as adults are operating from a sense of numbness based on all the external stimulation (tv,media, religion) then our children are also operating from numbness during the development stage so wouldn’t it make sense that they begin to believe these negative stimuli if they are not told to believe otherwise. Their minds at that age are like a sponge and they are influenced by everything around them. How do we expect young people to process all of these things positively in those early years of cognitive development if we ourselves are operating from a numb state. How vital is it for us to get a handle on our thinking, our judgements and our anger. Our young people are a product of what is available to them and they will grow up to be that which influences them in those younger years. Now, more than ever we as humans need to get a handle on things and realize if it looks negative or sounds negative it is and that creates negative thinking, negative events and negative energy. If a persons enjoyment is watching people being gunned down, infidelity and anger driven drama on tv or if that exist in the home on a regular basis I can assume there is a lot of emotional unhappiness because of the negativity that person is operating from within. Not because they are bad people but because negativity attracts negativity.

Personally I want to live my life feeling happy, everyday, as much as I possibly can because I want to feel good. So I ask you as an individual what is the one thing that makes you feel good no matter what? I preach this so much I am sure most people out there think I’m a hopeless romantic hippie but we all know down deep inside LOVE is the only true emotion that when felt can bring an overall happiness that resonates in not only our minds but in our hearts. I believe it is the most powerful emotion available to us but with judgment, dishonesty and anger, love can not exist, it can not resonate because there in no negativity in the feeling of love. It’s free, it is available and it heals. It will be what gets those families in CT through their losses, it is what gets us through tough times and it is in my opinion the only way we can ever get a handle on what is happening in our world. Love what you do, love who you are and love who your with, three simple things that you have power over. When we live from happiness we create that around us because others see that and want it too. I realize that these things can’t change all of our worldly problems but change happens slowly in life. If we all stop looking at everyone else and start with ourselves working on clearing our minds and operating from a clear loving mindset I believe miracles will happen.

All I want is for you, if you have read this far to consider doing this…

-watch tv less and sit in silence more to see what thoughts appear in your mind

-think about what you can do within your self to make you and only you feel better, to be a better person or be happier with your life

-be grateful for the wonderful things you have and stop wishing you had more

-do something nice for someone else just for the sake of being nice

-treat yourself good because you deserve it

-stop hanging out with negative people, if you are that negative person realize you are, forgive yourself, make positive changes to change that part of you and discover how awesome that feels

-communicate with others openly and honestly about how things make you feel, with out judgment and with delicacy, not making them wrong but merely letting them know if something is hurtful to you

lastly and most importantly tell the ones you love that you love them, say it out loud and be sure they hear you because we never know when it might be our last time with those loved ones. Never, ever take that for granted!

Sending love…pass it on!

What single word might express how I feel right here right now…

I’ve been struggling all summer with so many internal thoughts about my life, where I am and where I have been. I mentioned in my last post about the struggle, the boredom and that in my past, every 10 years or so when I felt this way I would pack up and move, start over and re-invent who I am. This time around I am content with where I live and no longer feel the desire to pack and move, I love Nashville. A few weekends back, as I did my early morning ritual, scroll through FB and twitter feeds I noticed a friend’s post:

“I’m interested to see who reads my post. I realize that’ s about 5 of you… So if you read this, leave me a one word comment about your day. Only one word please. Then copy this to your wall so I can leave a word for you!

For what ever reason, in that moment I thought…what single word might express how I feel right here right now. In that moment an avalanche of words came rushing through my mind. Words of how I felt, words of how I wanted to feel, words of what I wanted and didn’t want scrambled through my mind! It was then I realized, with my current struggle, I have been slowly isolating myself from the world. I’ve turned down every lake day, most every pool day and every thing in between. I’ve always had a good reason, in my own mind to pass on these things, the need to work on the house, grade papers, edit images…or the one that I use most, I don’t want to spend money on fun because times are tough. Honestly I wasn’t totally aware of what I was doing, I had my self believing my reasons and as the time passed I became more and more isolated from the world. My only interaction seemed to be FB and that left me feeling empty. So on that Saturday I started my pondering of meaningful words which of course become thoughts of all kinds.

It became one of those lonely, cry all day, feel sorry for myself weekends. I reflected on my family, how much I miss them, how we are all getting old and our time is limited. I cried.

I watched a sappy love story on tv and was reminded of my past decisions, where I am and that, I have to admit, I am a bit lonely, not unhappy but I do miss having a companion I can laugh with, share with and be intimate with. I cried.

I thought about my wonderful friends, about how I was disappointed that no one ever checks in much anymore, no calls or text. Then I thought, how can I expect them to stick around if I continue to close them off…I cried.

I thought about Dina, Victoria, Todd, Rusty, Mozi, Elwin and Grannie…those so close to me that I have lost in such a short time and how much I miss them. I cried.

I thought about my frustration with my ever changing career, my lack of feeling I am doing anything in my life that feels worthy and my fear of what can I do? I cried.

I watched a show about millionaire’s who secretly go to non-profits as undercover volunteers. They share stories, learn about those people they are helping and those running the cause who give their lives to others unselfishly. Then after getting close to these people they tell them they are donating large amounts of money to the cause because of how much they have learned, tears always fall on the show….and I cried.

As Sunday morning rolled around I watched my tv church episode and as always cried because of what I believe to be true and that God is with me.

Sometimes I find solace in being home especially the weekends, sitting in silence just listening to the sounds outside knowing everyone else is out being social. That strange loneliness mixed with a uncomfort knowing there is no one special in my life other than friends and family. It often is in those moments I find the most clarity, the most confusion and the most in-depth feeling of existence.

As my weekend of self reflection ended, Monday I went back into auto pilot and began the week. I had the realization Monday morning that I could not use a single word to express where I am right here right now. Love and Gratitude were the first of many that surfaced. I always start in GRATITUDE. I am grateful for all that is, good and bad because it is in that emotion especially over that weekend within my sadness that I realize it has to happen to feel something. I may be different from most in that when I am lonely I tend to make myself lonelier because I withdraw, I have to because it is the only way I know how to get quiet. I have to be grateful, I have to reflect, to hurt and cry. Those things always remind me that I am feeling and I am living. I am being touched by what I am experiencing. I am becoming wise to the secrets that life holds. I am finding out what moves me most and perhaps in time those triggers that make me cry the most hold the secret to where I am headed and what my life purpose is to be. With that I always end at LOVE.

I am living and though it may be in silence from the rest of the world sometimes, I know when it is time, after a few good cries, and some internal realization I will resurface and become social as I always do. With every single step no matter how easy or hard those steps come I continue to begin EACH next chapter of life while I have the breath in my lungs to do what I am here to do. Patience, stillness, gratitude and love must be my friends because that is what is guiding me to a new place. No packing bags at this point in my life, at least for now. I choose to reflect on the baggage I carried, grow, learn and know I can for once re-invent myself while all my friends watch with my feet planted here in Nashville for another 10 years! What words can you come up with to express how you feel right now? Think about it…maybe you will have a weekend like I did and on Monday awake with a huge smile!

Sending love…pass it on!

The wind in my sail has left and I am stranded in a vast sea of possibility, paralyzed…

It has been some time since I have written here at Thinking Diva. For what ever reason I have been in a bit of a funk and working toward trying to get my good energy and attitude back. I have been writing but not posting because I started this blog to share and motivate through being positive. I didn’t want to come off here as being negative even though I realize we all have times when we feel down. That being said most of my struggle’s have been based on life as a whole, not on one particular thing. Maybe I have been having a mid-life crisis! Lately my thoughts are centered around a reoccurring feeling of emptiness, a feeling of lack with everything that has had me wondering how I can get that excitement of life back. Perhaps the experience of loss (all the beautiful friends and family I have lost over the past few years) has created a shift in me that makes me question “Why am I Here?”  It seems that all the things I used to live by no longer have any viability to me. This is not the first time in my life that question has surfaced but it feels a bit different this time around because of my age, my accomplishments and where I am in life.

I AM full of gratitude! I have been very blessed with a wonderful family who I love so much and miss because of the miles I chose to put between us. I have the most wonderful and loving friends you could ask for. I have lived a life doing what I love through a career of creativity. I am content with my “SELF”, I have learned how to maintain self love and my struggle with spirituality has ended so I feel fulfilled. I have no debt, I have a roof over my head, I take care of myself and I am healthy so honestly I have no reason to feel so lost. I feel guilty for my thoughts of “lack” but as we humans often do I sometimes allow regret to surface in what I haven’t had or done. For what ever reason most of my life has been driven by career goals and solely involved only me. I worked hard and did what ever I needed to do, sacrificed what needed to be sacrifice to achieve what I though success was because I truly believed that was what made me happy. Overall I have been a happy person but those things now seem pointless. The things that sadden me in my life right now all center around my lack of personal goals involving others. I will always feel I missed out on the experience of having a child and being a mom. I have excepted it but that awareness does sometimes creep up on me. I have positioned myself in life to be alone, far from family, no responsibilities, no obligations and content with not being in a relationship right now. I wish I had been more mature in my past relationships, I never experienced a healthy-mature relationship in my past because I was not healthy and mature enough to know otherwise. I take full responsibility for my choices, I hold no anger of blame towards anyone and fortunately I know I will do better in this second phase of my life when I am ready to take that step.

As I sit here pondering wether I should even post this I am unsure that these words really have anything you will benefit from. Maybe I am reaching out to you this time hoping for some answers I can’t seem to find, maybe some clarity. My biggest “empty” feeling right now is that I am tired of living my life for just me, it feels so wasteful, it doesn’t have any importance outside of myself and that has come to bother me most. Living the way I have doesn’t feel fulfilling, I don’t feel I am offering myself outwardly in a purposeful way. Is this making any sense? Maybe this is my “story”(we all have one), my need for attention, maybe this is “all about me,” perhaps I am craving validation of feeling like someone or something needs me. Am I just feeling sorry for myself wollering in self pity? Goodness, is that a form of self, co-dependency? I had the realization yesterday that I am probably more than half way through my life. If I died tomorrow I believe I would be ok with what I have accomplished but with the time I have left I want so much more and I don’t want it to center around “just me”. It is not that I am unhappy but there is something really missing and I can’t put my finger on it. I am bored, I feel unchallenged and even worse I have no direction, I am going through the motions of what needs to be done and that is it. It’s like the wind in my sail has left and I am stranded in a vast sea of possibility, paralyzed.

So this is where I stop and go within, I get quiet, I pray, like so many times before but this time I realize….I am really stuck. It’s where I reach out to you and ask what do you think? Is this something we go through and question when we are in our 40’s? Do we all secretly share this and if so what do you all do to create new beginnings? Looking back on my life I see a bit of a pattern here, it seems every 10 years or so when I get bored with my life I pack up and move hundreds of miles to somewhere new to start over, to re-invent and to become excited again. It has worked every single time in my past but this time is different, for once I am really happy with where I live and with my friends. So what now, I can’t run, I don’t want to move….(although there is something intriguing with Santa Fe, Costa Rica or Europe…)

I am reaching out to those of you who were willing to read this far for insight, please share with me, I need a little kick in the ass right about now! Still sending love…but man I could sure use some love right about now (of course there is always moose tracks)!

The trip, the lesson, the healing…

Over a week ago I spent time with my family in Ocala and some time in Orlando dealing with some personal things (from what I often refer to as my “past life”). I had several days of steady driving to reflect on my life, where I’ve been, where I am, who I was and who I am now. I started thinking that if we face our fear, allow ourselves to take big steps rather than small ones and challenge ourselves, results can happen so much faster than taking baby steps. They can also be positive or negative but the important thing is how we deal with the outcome. We have to take accountability that WE make our own choices and those choices pave the road to where we end up. I took some extremely BIG steps 11 years ago and it led me to the happy place I am today.

It is hard for me to believe sometimes how different the person staring at me in the mirror was 10 years ago compared to the one staring back at me now. When I think back I do not like the person I was. I was selfish, unkind, self-absorbed, dishonest, ego oriented and negative. I built my career on drive, appeared to connect with others but did not allow others inside my heart. I felt that vulnerability made people weak, that being vulnerable would not allow me to have the success I wanted because I knew the only way for me to succeed was to stay completely focused on the carrot no matter what. Not allowing my self to be vulnerable also kept me from allowing real love into my life which also made me an un-loving person.

As I age I continue to learn what this journey of life has presented to me. The reality of my past is apparent in all of what I am today, I am the only one who can truly take the responsibility for past decisions, there can be no blame towards anyone else. Yes, other people do bad things at times but I allowed those people into my life in most cases and had a choice weather or not to do so. My mindset, coming from a small town, when I was younger was that I was going to be different, I was going to be something big for the people in that small town to admire, to relish. There was a lot of wealth there and I did not come from it so I felt I had something to prove. I worked my ass off, worked many different jobs but always pushed for that career as an artist. I never did any thing I would regret, never allowed myself to make a hasty decision for the sake of advancing in my career. Being a woman made it much harder, I had to prove myself, I had to work twice as hard and I had to work in a male dominant world with the odds against me. When my life came to a sudden halt in 2001 due to my decision for change I had gone from a small town girl with nothing to a self made woman with what appeared to be the perfect husband, the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood. We had boats, cars and lots of toys and most were due to my success. I took trips, traveled, had big parties and I felt at that point in my life I had made it to the level of where I had strived to be, I had reached my mountain top. What I didn’t realize is that all those things that I thought mattered we’re superficial. I awoke one day with everything I thought I ever wanted yet felt as lost and empty as I had the day I graduated from high school. I felt lonely at the top of that mountain and after looking at my life realized I was living a superficial existence. Everything on the outside that people saw looked perfect just as I had wanted but on the inside my life was filled with sadness, unhappiness and pain. All that stuff meant nothing.

Today those early decisions are why I have no kids, why I was in a verbally abusive relationship for 10 years, why I feel sometimes like I missed out on those life things most people either brag about or take for granted. Family, kids, unconditional love, the understanding that something outside of yourself is more important, being there for others and giving back rather than always thinking of yourself.

In that week I spent in Florida I learned that a friend who had passed was hurt by some decisions I had made back in that selfish time. I was so self absorbed in “ME” that I failed to realize I never sat down and talked with her of the details directly related to my decisions that negatively affected her. Today I am struggling with things that went unsaid to a friend I loved dearly who is now in heaven. It sucks to know I can’t sit her down, look her in the eye’s and talk to her, tell her how much she means to me and that I am sorry. There is some relief from the call I made 2 years ago with an apology when I learned of her heart bypass, but at the time I wasn’t aware of what she didn’t know about my earlier decisions so the apology had to have felt a bit shallow to her. What ever the case I can take back time and it saddens me. All I can do is believe that she hears me now and understands.

So why am I sharing this with you all? Over the years I have said over and over again to tell the ones you love that you love them, to forgive those who have hurt you and to realize that our time is limited so be sure you have no regrets. I still believe in all of those things but now have the apprehension that sometimes we may not realize that others may be living with a different understanding of something from our past. We may never learn such things exist but if we do somehow gain insight to this kind of discrepancy as I did on my recent trip we must have to ability to forgive ourselves  in a loving way. Although I am struggling with this now I know in time aIl will be ok with what I  have learned even if I can’t change anything now. We are human, we are not perfect but when we allow ourselves to live in a loving way, even when we stumble we have the potential through sharing to teach others from our mistakes. That is really why I am here, why each time I share openly and why I hope those of you who do read know I want my words to make you think about yourselves and open your heart accordingly. These words are really no longer about me but a reference to think about the possibilities for you. My goal is merely to make you think. Sending love out to all of you….pass it on!

The ghost of my past, three Musketeers, and letting go…

It is amazing how your heart can actually hurt in your chest when you are missing someone. This weekend I feel like I am living with the ghost of my past and I am trying to figure out the message all of this sadness is supposed to be teaching me. The loss of three extremely important people over the last several years, two just last year, has taught me a lot about life, it has reminded me to be grateful for the time shared, for the wonderful memories, for what I have now and to be sure to tell those I love that I LOVE them every chance I get. So why is it I continue to grieve sometimes many years later, why do I still feel so lonely and hurt so deep?

I am beginning to feel like grieving is triggered by difficult things that I am dealing with while living out my life. The memories of those who have left us is a reminder to smile because of our time spent with them but the deep void of not having them here can make us feel extremely lonely. These three musketeers are killing me this weekend. One was a best friend from my past life, one was the love of my life and the other a recent best friend. People I shared my deepest feelings with because the trust was so strong I never felt vulnerable. Perhaps I am feeling lonely right now because I don’t have anyone in my life I feel as close to as I did with them.

It takes time, love and compassion to gain complete trust in a best friend. It also takes knowing that in a moment that person would drop everything to be there for you if you needed them to be. Knowing that they would alway be the first to answer or return a call or text because they loved you. The kind of best friend you can tell anything too, who knows when something is bothering you without you saying a word. The kind of friend who can be brutally honest with you and you understand their honesty is to help you because you know they care so much. This is different than family because you share selectively with family. I’m not saying that I don’t have wonderful close friends here for me now because I do but I feel a void in that I don’t have that one person who I feel that complete trust with and that is where the sadness and loneliness is coming from. I’m sure a big part of that is also missing them, not being able to hear their voice or having the ability to just hug them.

This weekend I got a phone call from Wes, the boyfriend of 16 years to my best friend “Victoria”from my past life in Florida, she passed away last summer. I knew in time he and I would talk, I wanted it to happen, looked forward to it but dreaded it at the same time. For those of you who know me well you know that my past is littered with bad decisions, that I was in a verbally abusive relationship that was becoming physical and that I left that all behind in the dark of night leaving no trace of where I had gone to many. It was an extremely difficult decision and sadly it did not only effect me but others that I cared deeply about, Victoria was one. When I left I was sure I shared with her the details of what was going on in my life, she was upset with me because we were not only friends but shared a commercial space so my decision to leave changed her life as well. Our relationship during my time of preparation was tarnished and it hurt me deeply, I couldn’t figure out why my best friend didn’t understand my decision for the sake of my well being. On Saturday my conversation with Wes brought much more light to the situation than I had known, I now realize that I was so ingulfed in my world during that time, exhausted from the drama, embarrassed by the situation and with drawn on so may levels that I never clearly shared with her like a good friend does in detail what my reasons were for leaving. I failed in that regard and finding out now, knowing how confused she was with my decision and how badly I hurt her is an eye opener, especially because she is gone and I can’t have that conversation with her now. Two years ago when I found out she had to have a triple bi-pass I let go of my ego and called her to tell her I loved her and I was sorry for anything I had done in the past that had hurt her, I told her that I missed our friendship and I hoped she would forgive me. She did and today I am extremely grateful I made that call. I was not aware of the details I discovered yesterday when I made that call two years ago but I feel better knowing she forgave me especially hearing Wes say she was happy and relieved after my call.

We learn so much about ourselves in time after decisions and actions are made. Strange how we all preceive things differently, it reminds me how our view of the world is all so different. I find comfort with who I have become since starting my life over ten years ago, I am a very different person than I was back then. I think Victoria would have loved me more for the person I am today. Dina and Todd knew me as my new self, I have no regrets with them because I was able to share myself in a more muture state, openly and with complete honesty. I hope that even though I told them how much I loved them when they were alive, my actions convinced them of their importance in my life.

God sure has a way of stirring it all up sometimes, in the end I guess it only makes us better if we are feeling it, processing it and being grateful for the lesson no matter how much it hurts. The past few years have me thinking about heaven a lot. There is a curiosity there that keeps me enguaged and has taken the fear out of death, not only for myself but for those I love. It is humorous to me the vision I now have created in my own mind of those three different personalities, those three musketeers looking down on me, having all the answers now and smiling while enjoying the view. It is comforting believing that we will all eventually be together in the end enjoying that view when it is our time to go!

In closing I hope that my sharing might remind us all to be more honest with ourselves and others while we have the chance. We don’t always see things the same and we have to realize that conflict often is from mis-communication not necessarily anger, anger is more the result of ego. We also have to learn to let go of the past, forgive not only others but ourselves and allow the goodness that comes with surrendering to take over our emotions. Sending love to all of you, pass it on…