Tag Archives: love

If I were a super hero…

20140331-134856.jpg     If I were a super hero I would be able to fly. If I were a super hero I would be able to play with fire. If I were a super hero I would live in a palace in heaven. If I were a super hero I would be myself.

When my daughter Seraphim was required to come up with a super hero costume for a school project she and I began to dream together. We let our imagination free to create worlds, powers, and abilities that were limitless. However, it wasn’t until the night before the project was do that things got real. Panic set in as she realized we hadn’t actually put practical effort into the costume. We came up with all these ideas, but how to implement them was another thing.

Problem solving 101… I had been working on the computer when she interrupted me with the urgent news. No big deal, I thought to myself.  I am trying to be intentional about getting our kids to solve their own problems. I totally got this under control…

“How are you going to handle this?” I questioned, placing the responsibility on her to find a solution.

“We need to go to the store and buy a costume.” she looked at me with a “DUH” face.

“Cool, where are you going to get the money?”

A melt down began to proceed, whining and all. “How am I suppose to do this then? My costume is going to suck.”

I felt my insides unraveling as my impatience with her immaturity became apparent. Pushing aside my desire to get back to work, I knew I could use this as a teaching tool for growth. It was an opportunity to walk her through the process and allow her to take ownership of her homework.

“What things do we have around the house?” I responded with the utmost sincerity, again allowing her to own the problem.

Without saying a word, off she ran up the stairs. My eyes rolled as I felt irritation rising up. A few minutes later she returned to the office with a red sequined shirt in hand.

“I can be captain sparkle.” She said as she tossed it in the air allowing it to fall on my paperwork.

“What else are you planning on wearing with that?” I questioned with a snide tone.

“My jeans,” she replied.

I began to become frustrated with myself that I had allowed myself to become frustrated with her. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and respond the best I could.

“That is not a super hero outfit. What would your super power be if you were captain sparkle?”

Troubled by my response, she blurted out, “I don’t know. I don’t have anything to wear. We just need to go to the store.”

“I feel like that is the lazy answer. I need you to put some effort in here. What else could you do to make the costume more official?” I saw lights go on in her brain.

“We can look up outfits on pintrest.”

I started to feel relieved. At last we are getting somewhere. However, my stress levels returned quickly when I discovered the pintrest app on my ipad had been deleted and the battery was also about to die. GRRRrrrr. My hope was for her to be looking up ideas beside me while I continued to work on my computer. Now I was having to stop doing what I was doing altogether and help her out. The last thing I wanted to do was to make her feel like a bother, but she could feel my impatience growing as we sifted through the website.

“We can’t have logos either.” She popped off as we recognized some iconic emblems.

“That’s okay, you can make you own logo.” I attempted to explain.

Feeling misunderstood Seraphim took the opportunity to correct my ignorance by arguing that the teacher did not want any logos at all. My brain began to hurt as I fought off feelings of discouragement. I was going to use the initial intrusion on my time to become a teaching tool and now I was failing at everything. I am not getting work done, I am not empowering her to solve the problem, and I am causing more confusion than clarity. Instead of continuing on this route I simply gave up and was just going to call the shots.

“Please get out the craft paper.” I told her in angst.

“What for?” she replied, walking to the closet.

“Because I want you to.” I demand.

“Isn’t it alright for me to wonder what you are doing?” she said as she questioned my motives.

About that time, my husband who was also working in the office chimed in, “Why don’t you let her handle it Joy? It is her project after all.”

That was it. That was the straw that broke the camels back. “I am the worst mother ever. I am failing miserably. I suck. I can’t do this. I don’t know what I am doing. I am done.” all went through my head in a nano second.

“Seraphim, I need you to go out of the room while I gather my thoughts.” I said out loud.

My heart was crushed. I wanted to help. I wanted her to know she was important. I wondered why I had become so angry inside. I came to the conclusion… she is not a waste of my time. What the heck am I working so hard for anyway? I am working hard for her, for all our kids. I am working hard so they can be taken care of, because they are all important. In that moment I chose to stop worrying about work and focus on how to communicate “I love you” to her with my words and my actions.

First thing I did was look my husband in the eyes and share with him my heart. After he and I got on the same page I asked Seraphim to come back down stairs. I told her I was sorry for my shortness with her. After she accepted my apology, I asked her several questions trying to get her to come up with a super hero idea we could construct into a costume.

Finally, we decided on one. She was going to be the greatest super hero ever: A Seraphim is a fiery angel that reside in the throne room of God. They have six wings total. Two wings to fly with, two wings that cover their eyes, and two wings that cover their feet. They have the ability to see the glory of God and proclaim His holiness. They also have the ability to handle hot coals and cleanse the unclean. We decided she is already a super hero just by being herself.

Three hours later, one cut up old tee shirt, twenty sticks of hot glue, and countless paper feather cut outs, and viola. She had the coolest and most unique super hero outfit ever. She traced and cut out the stencil while I maned the hot glue gun. She and I laughed, bonded, and felt accomplished as we worked together.  It was time well spent. And while she ended up with her homework project completed, ironically, afterward I was the one that felt like a super hero.

 


Afraid of the Dark!

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Blankets clinched tight around your face as if they are a cloche of protection. You can almost hear your heart beating within your chest… Bum, bum… ba,bum!!! Tired eyes now wide open. The noises of the day kept your mind busy. Now the quiet speaks so loud. Creaking of boards turn to monsters in the hall as our imagination plays on our greatest fears. The rustling of leaves outside our window become rabid packs of animals on the prowl. Dark shadows loom in corners like a creepy stalker waiting for us to defer our eyes.

From frightening images through the window to the unsettling feeling we get when we hang our feet over the bedside, we are afraid. Our minds create more drama than reality. Instead of taking our thoughts captive and telling ourselves what to think, we believe our gut instinct is telling us we are in danger. We do not realize we are the ones entertaining tormenting theories.

We have deduced that we are discerning truth. We act upon that core belief so we can feel safe. We try to protect ourselves and the ones we love from harm. Yet, we have come to anticipate horrific moments instead of considering the alternative… We are not in danger!

Irrational feelings of being vulnerable to pain causes us to meditate on negative thought processes. We have interpreted our surroundings to be perilous and predicted the outcome to be fetal. We fail to scrutinize what is spawning our understanding of the situation. Unfortunately we draw the wrong conclusions and we ourselves remain alone, in the dark.

As a child, I thought like a child. As an adult, I put childish things behind me. Most of us as children went through a time when we feared the boggy-man or the mysterious creature lurking behind the shower curtain. We may have even been comforted by someone we trusted; someone we knew would protect us. As we have grown our speculative nature hopefully matured.

Switching on the light in our brains is just as important if not more-so than switching on the light in a dark room. What we focus on we empower. If we dwell on fearful thoughts, we give way to torture of the mind, spirit, and soul. We become scared to agree or partner with faith as our worst dreads become our friends and enduring allies. Our self imposed paranoia causes us to take extreme precautions. We do not calculate risks verses benefit, we simply freeze in our tracks and become numb to respond with rational.

Seek the peace which passes understanding. Allow your body to relax. Draw from the still small voice that calms your spirit. Choose to believe in hope. Set your scattered, uneasy mind to good thoughts. Tell evil to go to hell and deal with bad things when that happen not during the never end “if” they are going to happen. Breathe deep and smell the fresh air. Close your eyes and trust everything is going to be alright.


What’s Love Got To Do With It?

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Protection

We don’t want a baby and we don’t want a disease.

We don’t want to give up our freedom and we don’t want an STD.

Lovers come and lovers go,

It’s all fun and games until somebody leaves.

It was good and provided such a high,

It validates our person and gives us release.

How could it be wrong when it felt so right?

Then why do we feel this alone, this empty inside?

A crowd of faces, a sea of people,

Hollow ships sail these waters.

With priceless cargo they shove over board,

Never reaching the destination for which it had endeavored.

Wounded souls,

Sails with damaged holes.

As pirates plunder the booty,

We unwittingly sell ourselves short.

We set our standard low,

Believing no one will pay the cost.

We do not wait for the highest bidder,

As we see what we have as inferior.

The greatest gift we could ever give,

We place such little worth.

Protection is more than a condom or birth control.

It is about putting value on what we have over doing what we are told.

There is no medication that can cure it’s symptoms,

for it is not a physical condition.

It is not about just preventing a life,

It is about mending the one that is already living.

It is more than sexuality,

It is a heart.

 


A Good Laugh Among Friends

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Laughter fills the air as our cares are left at the door like a pair of dirty ol’ shoes. The mood is easy and the conversation light. There is nothing like the pleasures of forgetting our worries, and the relaxation of being with those we enjoy. Good times to be had with good friends. From backyard barbeques on the patio to a nice drink in a pub, life fills the atmosphere as we have a good laugh among friends. We find our uptight, anal selves melting into a comfortable chair as we let our hair down.

Everything in the world is right as we gather with our smiles in full beam. Whether we slide down a cold hill of powdery white snow and sip hot cocoa at the bottom, or we watch sunsets over horizons on warm summer evenings, our spirits are refreshed as our hearts are happy to be with those we love.

It is in these moments we celebrate the simple things like roasting marshmallows or blending margaritas. We find meaning and hope in newly forged relationships. We also find safety and security in those that are tried and true. We mingle and discuss fine craftsmanship, sporting events, and fishing tales. We linger when it is time to go, capturing every last joke of the evening before time catches up with us and we must go back to our regular lives.

We hold on to these feelings of bliss as if they are treasures more valuable than any achievement we have accomplished. We find we are grateful to be alive and look forward to the tomorrows of the world. We get lost in songs that remind us of these special times. We are quickly taken back and transformed in an instance as we sing along to the melody. Burden free, we may even be silly and dance. After all, what is the fun in hanging out if we can’t loosen up on the reigns a bit?

Laughter is a good medicine for the soul. It produces endorphins, healing, and an overall sense of well-being. So don’t forget to tell your serious side it is okay to chill out, relax, and add some joy to your world!

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Perphect!

Perphect…

“Perfectionism”, this unattainable yet infectious complex, spreads like infected cells.  The consuming, pseudo reality plays itself out for humanity, especially in our culture’s ideology.  The presumptuous intellect knows best.  Each individual creates their own internal infrastructure with the assistance of nature, nurture, and social factors. I myself developed an idealistic persona in my mind. A person I desired to be, but could not attain.

The problem with lofty ideals is we often develop a mental picture of these and how we think it should be. Then we are discouraged when something does not end up looking like the picture we saw in our heads. We are stubborn. We think things need to go a certain way and produce a certain outcome. That is all well and good as far as intentions go, however, it totally screws with our head. Like an artist with an idea, it is frustrating when what is in our mind does not come out on paper.

I found the more I tried the further away the person I wanted to become would be. I sabotaged my joy by setting up unrealistic expectations. If I wanted to always be good at something and happy, I would push myself as hard as I could. I would find the brighter side to every moment. Now, those are good things. However, I was coming at them from an obsessive place. When things went out of my control, I was in chaos. My internal world felt out of sorts. The conflict heightened when worry entered the equation. Anxiety had found a place to rest in my heart. It caused turmoil to spin like a hurricane inside of me.  This storm surfaced the belief: If I could just be OCD enough bad things would stop happening.

Happiness, easy going, delight, and stress collided. I quickly realized to be fun and carefree I needed to pursue my dreams. I did not know how to do this practically, outside of  a fantasy world.  Yet, it was in this very place I delighted to be that caused the most frustration and disappointment.  I could not hope and be a realist at the same time. I relinquished one for the other. I developed a “poverty” mentality of surrender and slavery. I felt like I was constantly in lack. I became bound by my own perceptions and core beliefs. I was uncertain how to be happy and carefree from the inside out no matter the circumstances .

I wanted it all. Yet how could I reconcile my hearts desires, live in the here and now, and be okay with the inevitable imperphections? I was afraid I would let my dreams hinder my capability to apply wisdom and practicality.  I began slowly suppressing myself, my joy, my nature, my being….the very name that I was called to be.  My fear and worries slowly took over my spirit. I was drowning in quick sand.

I buried my heart. I began setting my standards lower. If I could achieve it then I would not be a failure. I would protect myself from disappointment by only attaining what I knew would be possible. No risk…no pain! I tried intently to avoid rejection and disapproval. I began to plan ahead so I could prevent mistakes. If I could overdo everything then nothing bad could happen to me, right? I was continually in a battle with discouragement and disappointment. I was bleeding love and hemorrhaging acceptance. I needed a tourniquet. I did not know how to genuinely receive a compliment. Overwhelmed by insecurities, I focused on my flaws. It was a dark place with too much introspection. It is a place where people go to get depressed. It was a place I desperately fought to get out of.

Still, it did not matter how hard I tried, all I saw were my flaws. My attention was continually drawn to what I could be doing better. I underestimated my worth and personal value. I did not think I had anything to offer this world or the people in it. I felt as if I needed to earn affection, earn approval, and keep on earning things once I got them. Imbalanced, I felt as though I could lose love if I wasn’t pretty enough. I believed I would lose acceptance if I let anyone see the real me. I also felt I could lose everything I held dear if I let just one thing slip through the cracks. I had so much weight on my shoulders. Even when I did manage a smile anyone who truly looked into my eyes saw I was hiding enormous amounts of pain. My dreams were drowning in my pursuit of perphectionism.

But “hope deferred makes the heart grow sick”. To live in hope I needed to believe in the joyful expectation of good. The problem was, I was constantly waiting for the next problem, for that proverbial “other shoe to fall”. I had this ever constant, looming feeling something bad was just about to happen. There was a foreboding atmosphere surrounding me. This constant state of fear had stolen my peace and rest, and had run away with my joy. I struggled to keep them in my heart. Occasionally I would grab them by the leg and force them to hang out for few hours, but could never get them to take up residency.

Eventually, I was able grasp grace. I finally realized I could understand my limits, and still pursue excellence as a way of life. Priorities are important. Reconciling discipline, healthy habits, and a strong identity remain beneficial. To this day my house is typically very clean. I exercise on a regular basis. I am actively involved in my children’s education and extra curricular activities. I adore gardening and the outdoors. I love being fashionable. I enjoy arts and crafts. And I pursue my dreams. Yet through all of this, I am motivated by intentionality. After removing the stress, anxiety, and pressure that comes from thinking my actions determine my success or failure as a person, the things that at one point I thought “defined” me are now operating out of who I am. Though I will always grow as a person, I will also know my best is simply the best I can do.

It was through experience I discovered love was not based on performance. It was through discovering “JOY” that I finally became comfortable with my imperphections.  Often times the hardest demons to tell to go to hell are Fear of Failure and the Fear of Rejection. However, false humility is our own worse self-deception. I found when I compared myself to what I saw in others, all I could see is where I fell short. I had to be honest with myself and believe the truth about what I liked in me. I did not have to make up stuff, I simply had to discover who I was and then except that person. I had to choose to use my talents, my abilities, and the person I am. I had to blend my nature with nurture and walk in my own shoes with confidence in the direction I was created to head.

If we don’t grow and mature as people we will be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually stunted and even retarded, twisted by what we have made agreements with over the course of our lifetimes. I’ve learned a lot from taking risks, from trying, from making mistakes. As I’ve learned how to walk I’ve had to be okay with falling. Falling is fine. Getting back up is the important part. I found it vital to keep my eyes focused on the goal, rather than constantly looking down and seeing only current restraints. If we don’t go after our what is in our hearts, we will live in envy of the lives of others, and we will not do the very things we were created for.

Remember: it is what we believe about ourselves that becomes our reality. If we think we need to be perfect to be good enough, we will never be good enough! We can remain in our self-absorbed cesspool breeding bacteria or we can flow within the current of our own rivers with all of their individual eddies and idiosyncrasies. We can enjoy the ebbs and flows and the path laid out before us. We can trust, for no matter what comes around the bend, we will eventually make it to our ocean.

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Naughty or Nice

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The Christmas spirit is all about believing the best in people. Atheists, agnostics, and Christians alike surround themselves with hope and joy. It is a time when we celebrate humanity, the gift of life, the gift of a savior, and the gift of acceptance. Somehow we belong to a bigger picture. It is a greatness that bonds us together. We see fit to forgive and we desire goodness and grace be extended to all mankind. Even grumpy, ill tempered, self-centered old mister Scrooge is worthy of yet another chance.

It would behoove us all to believe in the goodness of others all of the time. If we genuinely treat others how we want to be treated, adhere to our values, and allow for grace, more often than not we will win. Constantly worrying and fretting over what bad people may or may not do and dwelling on the “what if’s” of the unknown is tormenting. If we take responsibility for our own actions we only have to be concerned about what we offer to this world. We can be kind because it is who we are, not because others deserve it. We can show love because we carry love, not because others demand it. We can show respect because we respect ourselves, not because others earned it.

Living from a place of peace reproduces peace on earth. When we extend goodwill and mercy to those who have known very little, our reward is eternal. Walking in freedom rather than control cultivates honor. We can believe in the goodness and sincerity of others because we believe in the goodness and sincerity in ourselves. It is our jobs to communicate our hearts, our needs, our feelings. It is our job to manage ourselves, to tell ourselves how to act, behave, and what thoughts to discards and which to meditate on.

Many live in a regular state of fretting over when and how others will eventually hurt, disappoint, betray, or simply let us down. Most of us do not even realize the arrogant self-preservation mode we are living in.  Taking up the power to judge people before they have even done anything wrong not only validates our distrust in humanity, (which not only proves us “right”) it also keeps us separated, self-righteous, and prideful. We do not give people a chance to fail. Thereby, we do not give people the chance to grow and clean up their own mess. How can someone get on the nice list if we automatically default them to the naughty?

Someone’s past does not define them. Many people have made mistakes and change for the better. Our future is not written. Patterns of behavior can change if we introduce new opportunities, new circumstances, and choices beyond our current box. Predictions are only that… predictions. They are not fact. They are not fate. They are not predestined, and they are open to faulty interpretations and misguided discernment. Even the Mayans, in all of their “wisdom”, got it wrong. For far too long people have used threats, intimidation, and manipulation to experience feelings of safety. We are too focused on external things such as behavior and performance.

We can change people’s actions for mere moments with scare tactics, but it is when we connect with people’s hearts that they will be changed forever.  It is when we place value on the internal and unseen riches such as love and acceptance that people truly flourish. When people know they are not required to be perphect to be worthy, they will know they are good enough by simply being themselves. We will come to find more people on the nice list if we would stop trying to be what we think everyone else wants us to be and just concentrate on being us.

In the Spirit of  the season, may this next year bring new perspectives. May we shift our paradigms. May we take down our defense mechanisms and live on the happy side of offense. May we show people love without fear, grace without conditions, and transparency without shrewdness.

Merry Christmas to all and the Happiest of New years. May 2013 be the best surprise you’ve ever experienced!


Filtered!

Filtered!
Is it what we have been smoking or the filter we are using that causes misunderstandings?

I have wrote several blogs by now. Each of which has their own unique subject matter. I have written poems, stream of conscious thoughts, and stories from my life and lives of those around me. It is fascinating to hear how people interpret my words. They have filtered what I have written through their own individual paradigms, and some have blown smoke rings (and even fire) in return.

What I find intriguing is during this process I am attempting to convey the pure content in my heart with words. This is one filter. The next filter is how people read my words and the meanings they attach to them according to their world view. My very thoughts, feelings, and written dialect (or at least people’s interpretations of them) become subject to those inhaling it, making it their own.

According to what others think, believe, and may or may not have experienced, they will filter what they read, hear, and perceive. This is why relationships are so important. This is why discussion is vital, two way communication that allows clarification to surface. This is why it is paramount to keep ourselves from jumping to conclusions….there might be a cliff we don’t know about.

This is also when judgements are so damaging and narrow minds interfere with perceptions. This is when broken, infected places in the heart are poked and prodded and breakdown in communication inevitably happens.

It is essential to renew our minds to see through the lenses of others. We tend to get hung up on verbiage rather than seeking the heart of a matter. When we do this we end up criticizing those who are not like us. We take their words personally and attack their character. We fail to objectively argue ideas.

This is why objectively managing our own filter is so critical. People who are looking for good will find it. Those that look for evil, see it everywhere. What we focus on will be highlighted. However, there is such a bigger picture than our narcissistic view. Just like in the movie Inception, even our own perception of our own inner world can be so limited, so subjective.

Those who go through anger management are taught to articulate their frustrations rather than giving into their rage. Our emotions are simply another filter. They themselves are neither good nor bad. It is what we do with them that brings them to life.

Intuitive people have a special gift. They easily make assumptions. It gives us quick access to insight, allowing us to make judgements about situations in someone else’s life. We can surmise who, what, when, where, and why with natural ability. Yet, as intuitive as people can be, even they can project their imagination into the equation, and misinterpret the information they are discerning the most. Again this is why relationship and communication is so vital.

I understand the more I blog the more people will connect with what I have to say. More people are going to relate to experiences I have had in life. And more people are going to misinterpret what I am saying. The more popular one becomes the more misunderstandings there are about that person. It is common to spread rumors about people you do not know personally and have no vested interest in their well-being. Does that mean I should not share my stories? Should I live in fear and hide my heart? Should I feel the need to over explain my every word so as to avoid misinterpretation and misunderstanding? Or should I just simply put myself out there the best I can, knowing how perfectly imperphect I am, letting that simply be more than okay?!

This blog is not a tabloid. I am not trying to exploit myself or those I care about. This is not a gossip column for my stalkers to relish over. This is not so people can use my words against me or to harm those I care about. The opinions of people who do not like us should not matter. They will have nothing uplifting, encouraging or inspiring to say anyway. What they say and think about us says more about them than it does about us. It is those we hold in high regard, those we are accountable to, those who give us constructive criticism through love… those are the ones we must trust. We need not seek approval from others anyhow. Our identity and approval should always come out of our relationship God first.

This is a place of healing, for me and, hopefully, for others. This is an outlet for me to reach an audience I may never otherwise come in contact with. I understand I am a little raw. I am very transparent. I am being extremely vulnerable. Through this I aspire to bring hope to others. I seek to move people to forgive, to let go of their fears, and to dream again. I am determined to get people out of perphectionism and into in a place of joy!

Recommendations:

Battlefield Of The Mind

Interpersonal Communication


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