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. 

Prioritizing blended families

I am going to start posting about relationships and children now that I am divorced and there doesn’t seem to be reconciliation in site. It is my hope that if I am ever married again, the husband I have will see eye to eye with me on this. I was brought up to believe that a husband and wife need to put each other and their relationship before that of children. Usually the marriage is first and then children who grow up and then leave and yet a marriage remains. I thought maybe this was just biblical, which it is…but I am also learning that it is in secular psychology as well. In fact, the following is from psychology today:

“Making your kids the centerpiece of your life may seem like a good idea, but generally it’s not. Besides the more obvious risks and dangers such as overprotection, indulgence, and other practices that can lead to a sense of entitlement and prolonged dependency. Making your children’s happiness your highest priority can result in an unanticipated and undesired consequence: the promotion of the idea that marriage requires the sacrifice of one’s personal needs and desires in order to fulfill the higher moral imperative of responsible child rearing. There’s no question that some degree of sacrifice is required for any relationship worth it’s salt to be successful, but the real question for parents is always, “Where is the line between my responsibility to my children, my responsibility to my spouse, and my responsibility to myself?”

When one or both partners make their children’s happiness a higher priority than the health of their marriage, they run the risk of neglecting the needs of the marriage, and in doing so, fostering feelings of resentment, neglect, resignation, and alienation in themselves and/or each other. Even if the consequences aren’t overtly harmful, they can erode the quality of the couples’ connection and give children the message that marriage isn’t a particularly fun place to be much of the time. As most parents know, children sense much more of their parent’s moods, feelings, and attitudes than they outwardly express. Unhappy and unfulfilled parents can lead their kids to conclude that marriage makes people unhappy, or if the focus of their discord centers on child-rearing differences, that they are the source of their parents’ unhappiness.

It’s natural and beneficial for parents to make their children’s well being a high priority. It’s better to err by caring too much than not enough. Still, making the needs of the marriage subordinate to the needs of the children can, as many have discovered the hard way, lead to unexpected consequences. For Betty, the children always came first. She claimed that because her husband Stefan was an adult, he could take care of himself and shouldn’t need much attention. Even as her children grew into adolescence and young adulthood, she never modified her position. She justified her stance and frequently told Stefan, “You’re not giving enough to them, so I have to.” “I’m not focusing on them,” Stefan would respond, “because they need to stand on their own two feet. When are you going to let them grow up?”

“You don’t care about your own children,” Betty would blurt through her tears, and the cycle would continue. They had this conversation hundreds of times over the course of their marriage. Sadly, both were unable to see that the casualties of the impasse were the children, as well as their marriage. For years, their relationship had been starving as a result of a deficit of attention. With both children now grown to adulthood, their marriage had devolved into cold, resentful stagnation.

Betty’s relentless attention to her children was a way of avoiding the real problems in the marriage, which had to do with a lack of intimacy and a loss of trust. Stefan’s unwillingness to nurture the marriage by acknowledging his own loneliness and sadness served to perpetuate the pattern. Ironically, but predictably, the children for whom Betty sacrificed her marriage were also losers in this game. Not only did they lose out on the kind of support they needed to become more independent and responsible themselves, but they missed the opportunity to grow up under the guidance and example of a loving partnership, Betty and Stefan managed to stay together even after their kids moved away from home, but their marriage remained unsatisfying because they never faced their real issues. They stayed together because they were fearful of being alone and opted for the familiarity of the old pattern.

More than anything else we can do for our children, the example of a happy marriage supports and encourages the possibility of creating such a relationship in their lives. The time to experience the true blessings of a marriage is not after the kids have left home. It’ never too early or too late to put your marriage first!”

This was an issue in two/three marriages for me…both similar in personalities but one the children were born into and the other the child was in the process of being adopted (wherein he then chose the child to be adopted over reconciliation). My first husband realized this and repented after the divorce but sadly I was living in sin and didn’t care. Next time, if I don’t stay single, I will make sure whomever I date is on this same page.

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

 

Lightning

It happens in the least expected way-the calm and then the sudden burst of energy ensuing complacency. It’s like the wall of apathy built around oneself slowly deteriorates and then someone penetrates that protective barrier. The disruption is a fast and sudden onset of rage and emotion all at once.

Lightning

You

Again at this game

Carrying on like it’s nothing

Playing in the field

While the clouds circle high

Darkening

As I focus on the predictable

The overhanging cliff I climb

The strength I know so well

Pulling myself up

Focusing on the goal

The dream I have

Knowing you will be there to catch me

And will meet me at the top

But I didn’t see the clouds lower

The pressure dropping

So consumed in my path

And the water pelting down

Not seeing you under me

Nor hearing the slow rumble overhead

Like my temper tantrum brewing

About to stomp my foot

Slam the door

And scream it out

And so it goes

Lightning strikes

Piercing all concentration

You stumble…

Falling

Hands failing

Loosening your grip on the ties that bind

And I slip

Rope running through quickly

Breath catching as I catch speed

And crash

Lightning strikes

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.