3 ways to build inner StReNgTh

I have been asking myself lately what quality I want to have and work on the most that I don’t already have or one that I need to continue to work on. Yes, I am incredibly honest and I’m engaging, … Continue reading

Stretching 

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters 

1.

I walk down the street. 

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. 

I fall in. 

I am lost … 

I am hopeless. 

It isn’t my fault. 

It takes forever to find a way out. 

2.

I walk down the same street. 

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. 

I pretend I don’t see it. 

I fall in again. 

I can’t believe I’m in the same place.

But it isn’t my fault. 

It still takes a long time to get out. 

3.

I walk down the same street. 

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. 

I see it is there. 

I still fall in … 

it’s a habit. 

My eyes are open. 

I know where I am. 

It is my fault. 

I get out immediately. 

4.

I walk down the same street. 

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. 

I walk around it. 

5.

I walk down another street. 

-Portia Nelson

Stretching is getting comfortable with and pushing the edges of something uncomfortable. I’ve recently realized this in an emotional and physical sense. I discovered this because really, in order to grow, you have to push hard enough within and without yourself to be uncomfortable.  You can’t learn if you recoil at the smallest discomfort. 

The challenge is to do this physically first to allow your mind to adapt so that when an uncomfortable feeling hits you emotionally (something that would make you close up or pull back), you will learn to embrace it as a phase and keep pressing on. Life is full of challenging moments and I know often times in my life I’ve taken an easy approach despite my tendency to learn things the hard way.

So start with a physical stretch and when you start to feel uncomfortable, stay there…breathe through the feeling and consider each muscle and fiber or your being and you acquaint yourself to the feeling. Do this more and more and if you are like me and you are building muscle, you do this at the gym by increasing your weights and thus forcing your muscles to tear down. As you lift, slowly, ease into the slow burning and tearing down of your muscle knowing it will be stronger as it builds back up.

I am going through some mentally tough things right now and I despise change…yet it LOVES to seek me out and force me into uncomfortable situations. I want to curl up in a ball and cry, which I often do at first. Then I have learned to resolve to overcome and be a better person despite the new circumstance. 

I hope you find this challenging and enlightening as a first post to my blog in 2018 and in a long time. 

Feeling Again

Fingers frozen
Thoughts dancing wild
Inside
Chest is tight
Pulse rising
Can’t touch the keys
With the war waging
Tearing down
Layers of pain
Struggling
Fear is fighting
Trying to conquer
Protecting
My fragile heart
Beating louder
Shattering
Silence
Growing
Now echoing
In my ears
The chorus of life
Remaining
Within my soul
Resonating
Memories
Fading
Blurring the walls
like raindrops falling
Wet ivory now moving
Teaching
My heart to sing
Again

 

Take a Chance

“What if…” “If only…”

Such an elusive way to think.

This is me.

Someone took a chance on me.

They trusted and freely gave

And then they forgot

Their reasons fading away

Like water through my fingers

They left me alone

I couldn’t decide which thing I must have done wrong to have deserved it.

But I thought, “what if I had…”

And in the end, I now know it wouldn’t have made a difference.

There are many things in my life that I think to myself that I would change if I was given the opportunity, and yet, I am happy for the wisdom I have through it all.

Yet, I still go through this constantly.

Teeter-tottering on the concept of failure versus success.

Someone else took a chance on me.

I was tough now-more secure.

They accepted me and I them.

But I wasn’t enough in the end.

I found that out through heart-ache and tears.

Head and heart beaten to pulp.

Loss and…failure.

I had lost, again.

I wasn’t looking in the right place.

If ONLY someone who I already trusted was with me, it would be different.

But this time I wouldn’t get so deep.

Another chance-

Another heart-ache…what is wrong?

With me?

Like a rag doll…once a cared for possession but tossed aside.

I longed for it,

But grew to trust only me.

Then it happened!

My long lost ONE!

I took a chance.

I rocked my world and went all in.

Full throttle into the life I thought was right.

I wanted him to take a chance on me too.

I thought he did, but still undecided.

And then wavered…

He couldn’t give me the chance-it conflicted with the life he desired.

And again, I was alone.

More alone than ever-and broken.

But what is broken can let in more love-more hope.

I trusted and I found one.

No chances taken-I just said let it be, whatever it may be.

Don’t take a chance, but believe in me.

I have a few friends who have taken that chance on me-they have believed in me when others wouldn’t.

They watch me fall flat on my face…

And get back up each time-tear stains down my dirtied cheeks.

But they LOVE…they ACCEPT the inevitable ME.

They don’t know my outcome and they’ve seen (or heard of) my so-called “failures.”

And yet, they still took the chance on me-they counted on me to pull through.

*****************************************************************************

My challenge to you is to take that chance and continue to have faith in someone even if and when it is not what you expect.

I am preaching to myself right now because I want the “what if” and “I hope” to work itself into reality but the fact of the matter is that it is me putting expectations on someone and that isn’t fair.  Hope is good-unconditional love is BETTER! Acceptance in SPITE of someone’s outward appearance or maybe a stigma-a label.  It’s hard to walk in someone else’s shoes.  And that is why I am happy I have had so many unsuccessful relationships in life, because it has taught me all of this-Love is eternal and people will come and go.  (Yes, you read that right.)  I have been torn and tattered.  I have been abused in almost every way in my past and who I am-how I am is too much for most people (family, spouse, friends included).  I have lost much, but I have not lost ME-and GOD has never lost ME.  HE loves ME-for ME!  HE knows where I am going and what will happen and HE takes a chance on me and that I will follow and love Him and do what HE says (definitely not because it’s popular).

When I was climbing, I learned to trust each hold and each path I chose.  When you lead, in rock climbing, you literally “commit” when you reach out and put all of your weight on a crimp or a smear and you “commit” to that route (you usually can’t go backwards unless you fail fall).  It’s so similar in life-you have to take that chance, trust, and then commit.  It’s actually a pretty simple formula.  Then if you fall, you try another route and eventually…hopefully stronger in the end, you make it to your destination.

I don’t like sounding like I’m preaching and I know if you are like me, you won’t just read this and learn it-you’ll have to live it just as I had.  If you don’t take a chance on someone, you may never know how amazing they are or will become. And you will never know how their ripples will affect you.  This may be on a loved one, lover, child, parent, co-worker, friend.  I don’t know, it may actually be that you need to take a chance on you.

Whatever the case, you are thinking of something right now that you need to take that chance on…something you just need to know. Maybe you won’t and you will never know.  Sometimes I think to myself with a smirk that I have come such a long way and done so much more than anyone who had taken the chance on me and then given up would have ever thought possible  But I don’t do these things for them…they’re because it is just the path I’ve walked.  No, I haven’t always “walked in the path that God willed” I’m sure…but He knew before the world was in motion that I would walk this path and He promises in Jeremiah that “For I know the plans I have for you…plans of good and not evil.”  We just need a little perspective to see how God equips us for those hardships and brings forth the best in each of us if we let him.

Ok, haha!  I got a little preachy and I’m sorry.  I guess I was having a moment looking back at some old poems from the past and realizing just how much I’ve come through-all which I would never have had the strength to go alone.  I struggle a LOT (hey-no one said this is easy), with who I am and why I was never “enough” for those who supposedly committed to me.  I have high expectations sometimes-more for myself than others.  And when someone does seemingly take a chance on me now, I have a hard time trusting.  I push them away and don’t talk to them much because I am afraid of not being what they “thought” and then feeling disappointed when they leave my life.  I will share an experience from my younger years that has stuck with me for a long time.  When I was in 8th grade, I was living in a 5th-8th grade girls dorm in a tiny boarding school in Bolivia, South America.  The prior year I had been in a large public school in the US (my parents went to the US every few years for a year “furlough”), so I knew none of the rules at this boarding school for this age.  Well, within weeks, I was breaking (pretty innocently) rules and my dorm parents sat me down in their office.  Their words will always sting-they told me they had expected me to be an angel since they knew my parents and they were disappointed in me.  WOW!  That hurt…and I believe that was the first of many disappointing moments in my life.

Anyway, take the chance, trust, and commit.  That is my challenge to you-to myself.

Mountains

Looking up at a mountain and thinking about climbing it is pretty intense! The first time I was taken to a rock climbing area (aka “crag”), I thought it seemed crazy-the thought of going vertically up something rather than horizontally.  Obviously it is dangerous to climb or you wouldn’t need a rope, right?

The thought of doing something you’ve never done, that doesn’t seem natural,  is overwhelming.  Nelson Day, with his love of climbing, was eager to teach me how to climb something (with rope)! He, unfortunately, also had to teach me how to belay, which means you are the one at the bottom who is essentially holding the climber’s life in their hands if they fall.  You may (depending on where the fall occurs) get an opportunity to “save” them.  Well, thankfully, Nelson scaled up a relatively easy climb, basically free-soloing, as I attempted to belay.  He was very supportive, telling me I was doing great and I even thought I caught on quickly! Of course, I later experienced having to show someone and trust them to belay me-wow, that brings a whole new meaning to trust!

Climbing! Wow! My first climb was a 5:8 climb in New Jack City (between Lucern Valley and Barstow in California) on Boy Scout Wall.  And, no, I had never even climbed at a gym.  I just knew I would try and fail because I couldn’t ever do pull-ups as a youngster, nor climb my way up a rope.  I was vertically challenged, in more ways than one, I guess! 😉 Well, he said to go for it and I went for it, clinging to a wall that had some very small holds to start with.  I did it because he was excited and clearly loved this sport.  (I did forewarn him that I may not like this sport and choose to watch from a distance in the future, especially since I was afraid of heights.) Did I mention I was fearful of heights? Yeah…just a bit!!! (No roller coasters or ferris wheels for me, not that I’m not adventurous.)  I do like to try new things and I have always thought of myself as somewhat athletic, despite numerous health issues over my years. So, about 20 feet up, top-roping of course, I said, “nope!” “Let me down!” I begged. Nelson shook his head. “I’ll let you down when you’ve gotten to the anchors.” Argh! I don’t believe I even questioned him because he is a stubborn man (in the best of way usually) and he definitely means what he says.  Arguing with him would have been futile. Fine! I had to change my mindset…I had to get up to those anchors, about another 30 or so feet up. Honestly, that last part was probably the easiest physically, but mentally, when you look down and see the bottom, your mind naturally goes to places it shouldn’t (i.e.: I could fall, etc). Of course, on rope, and with a great guide like Nelson, I had nothing to fear. I was too high to talk to him much, (talking is the way I get myself through uncomfortable situations normally), so my only choice was to focus in and try to look for ways to get my feet and hands on this mountain in a way that I wouldn’t fall. The coolest thing was that I did it! I found feet and holds and made it all the way up without hanging or falling. I was ecstatic!  I had climbed! Wow! What i once thought of as impossible was suddenly turned upside down.  The possibilities opened up and Nelson asked if I wanted to climb some more.  YES! I climbed several more that day, about the same level.  I was hooked.  The feeling of mental awareness connecting your brain to your body and its movements, forging through your fear and what you once thought yourself incapable of doing was amazing! Exhilarating! I knew my life would never be the same.  I was challenged-I met that challenge, and now I wanted more challenge.

In the following posts, I will share stories of my climbs and what I learned through them.  I will occasionally just share a story and I may also share some of my other “mountains” (not physical ones, but metaphorically speaking) in this blog.  I hope I can encourage you and challenge you as you overcome your own mountains.

Have a great and blessed day!