Defiance Moment

What do we hide from?

We hide from the things we fear.

What do we hide from others?

We hide the deepest truth of our hearts.

We live in a constant state of fear and scarcity, never believing that there will be enough to go around, enough to cover it all. We hold ourselves back from truly diving into life and living authentically because we’re afraid we won’t be accepted as we are or that love is somehow a limited resource that we will lose. So instead, we paint on a face that we think will satisfy the “thems” and “theys” and quietly let our truths and dreams die inside.

But when will the defining moment, or the defiance moment, be the turning point that sets you free? It’s up to you. You are the only one who can decide to look fear in the face and move past it. You are the only one who can choose to push past the discomfort of owning your truth and shed the skin of your pretense to become the person you’re truly meant to be.

It’s in learning to let go of preconceived ideas, subconscious baggage, and the knee jerk response to control that you will find the deepest levels of growth. The only person you own is yourself. The only person you can control is yourself. When we stop trying to control things from a place of fear, we can begin to live from a place of authenticity and experience life in its fullest and most beautiful form.

On the other side of fear is your freedom.

 

 

Change

Change can’t be forced or stopped. Sometimes it’s sudden, sometimes it’s gradual. There is no perfect map to guide us through the changes life brings our way. All we can do is allow the change instead of fighting it. We must find a way to flow with the change, to allow it to promote growth and endurance. Fighting change won’t stop the change itself and will only make the inevitable journey harder to navigate. We have the choice to move forward with bitterness and resentment or with grace and courage.

The choice is always ours and that is where our power lies.

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Hand in Hand 

I loved you

Despite your broken wings

Because I knew

What it was like to be a broken thing

All the ways you didn’t make sense

We’re OK by me

Because I didn’t make sense either

So for once I felt free

We tried so hard

In ways no one quite understood

We were labeled lazy, we were labeled crazy

Together we stood

But I don’t understand you

And you don’t understand me

And this connection we’ve made

Feels like a stormy sea

Tell me now dear, do we have what it takes

To move beyond the need to understand

And find the deeper meaning of simply

Walking hand in hand

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Reframe It

I appreciate structure, I feel at my best when I have a plan and know what is going on. But that’s not life. I am reminded on a an almost daily basis that despite best effort, there are no guaranteed outcomes.

Life has a way of stretching me past my comfort zones pretty consistently. Sometimes I handle this well and just “roll with the punches,” still other times, sudden and unexpected change throws me into an emotional tail spin.

I firmly believe in the power of positive thinking. I read an article recently on the concept of Reframing. Reframing is a way of looking at events, ideas, concepts and emotions that could be viewed negatively and instead changing the perspective to a positive one. Finding the good. “Positive thoughts give rise to happy, contented emotions and negative thoughts result in sad and depressive emotion. These emotions than affect biological changes in the body. Basically, the quality of our thinking affects the emotions we experience  and the state of our physical health”

When circumstances do not go the way that we hoped, intended, or wanted them to, it is easy to slip into a negative headspace. But what is the benefit of that? Sometimes we get so caught up in what “should” have happened that we miss the real meaning of what actually did happen in all of the chaos, beauty and pain. All of our experiences in life hold value, even those that make our heart hurt when we think of them. “Regardless of what’s going on in our lives, we can always ‘reframe’ our situation. So – no matter how bad everything appears to be, we always have the choice to make ourselves feel better by changing the way we view our problems or situations.” There are no guarantees in life. For someone, such as myself, who likes structure and order this often creates a sense of anxiety and stress. However, I believe that there is a strong coorelation between the ability to reframe your thinking and a heart of gratitude and forgiveness. When I find reasons to be grateful for the good in any situation, I am then able to deal with the negative aspects of the situation in a healthier way.

“True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.”
― Oprah Winfrey

We have to make a concious decision to choose happiness and find the good. We have to actively choose to reframe our world view. We have to make the choice. Our quality of life depends upon it.

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.”
― Seneca

 

Let There Be Spaces

New relationships are always challenging, but when you begin one in the midst of chaos and change it adds another level of pressure. It has been a little over two years since R. and I started dating. He has been through some of the worst moments of my life with me and most certainly has seen me at my lowest point. We struggled, we went back and forth, we still struggle to meld two lives together. Something that came naturally in my 20’s is a whole lot harder in my 30’s. I have different ideas, a different outlook on life in general, I am a lot more opinionated and I still struggle to develop healthy headspace.

I didn’t grow up with a good sense of healthy boundaries, especially when it came to expressing emotion. We were a hot headed, loud and large family. We yelled a lot. When I got married, at twenty one, I continued this pattern in my marriage; high emotion and yelling. I thought this was normal, it was my normal but it was not healthy. My ex husband and I are both intense and emotional people, we did not know how to express our feelings appropriately or work out conflict in a constructive way. In some ways, this led to the breakdown of our relationship.

I am not saying that emotion is wrong or that you should stifle what you feel. I am a firm believer in being in touch with your emotions and your feelings. However, there’s a certain level of self control and self awareness that needs to exist so that your emotions do not control you or alienate others. As someone who also deals with anxiety, this is very difficult for me both in a relationship and as a parent. Some days I am able to internally cope and regulate, other days I miss the mark completely and end up hurting those closest to me.

One of the things that I have come to appreciate about R. is his ability to call me out on my crap. Obviously, I don’t appreciate it immediately but over time I have come to see the benefit of his insight and ability to stay calm more often than not. He has helped me to realize that plowing ahead full force with all my emotion and feeling is not healthy and in fact creates a disconnect with the people I love most. This was insight and understanding that I had never received before. I had never experienced life in any other way. My parent’s relationship was fraught with tension and emotion, my childhood and teenage years were full of high emotion and intensity, and my marriage followed the same pattern.

So here I am, in my 30’s trying to reconstruct my life and change the destructive patterns I have created in my life. I would love to say that I have figured this all out and that I am on my way. However, I am really at the beginning stages of mental reconstruction and self awareness. I have been presented with the challenge to change. I have said quite often that I believe change is a choice and I guess now would be the time for me to take those words to heart in a new way.

A few years ago, I participated the My One Word project. According to their website, “It’s okay to want to be a better you—the question is, how? My One Word replaces broken promises with a vision for real change. When you choose a single word, you have a single focus. You are moving toward the future rather than swearing off the past … This process provides clarity by taking all your big plans for life change and narrowing them down into a single focus. Just one word that centers on your character and creates a vision for your future.” So although I am a little late to the party, I have decided that my word this year will be “Space.”

I need to develop a healthier head space, I need to make time for my own space in life, and I need to give those around me the space they need. In doing so, I believe that I will begin to develop better strategies for coping with my own emotions and also minimize my anxiety.

When it comes to relationships, I am all about togetherness but I am finally realizing that for a relationship to grow and to remain healthy, there must be “spaces in your togetherness.” You can not be your best self if you do not take the time and space to develop your best self. So this is my challenge and goal for the year.

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

Lessons in Brokenness and Beauty

These past two years have brought a lot of changes, a lot of emotional ups and downs, mental and emotional challenges that sometimes seemed insurmountable. Here on the other side now though, I have come to deeper understanding of what it means to live alive, to live without limits, and I have found that there is such beauty, strength, and peace here on the other side. There’s no such things as a “waste of time,” rather every moment becomes a part of you, a part of your story, your journey. If you allow it to, it will give you new depth, soften your hard edges, allow you to see what truly matters, and fill your heart with gratitude – All things work as they should.

Here are some of the things that I have written and learned along this journey …

2013 

You let yourself be vulnerable

And now your scared
Let it go
Quiet your spinning mind
And just trust
If one door closes, it was meant too
Another one will open
Be Brave
Know your worth
Ignore those who don’t
You are worth so much more
You are beautiful


It was all I ever wanted until it wasn’t anymore
Decided to take a leap of faith or insanity, I’m not sure
The thrill intoxicating, went straight to my head
The fire that was burning, demanding to be fed
Reaching for the unknown
Standing on unsteady feet
There’s courage in this uncertainty
Cause freedom is never free
I will stand my ground
Face my demons down
Find the courage I’ve been lacking
Even if my heart is breaking

I’m falling apart at the seams

My heart just keeps taking these hits
And I wonder how long I can go
With a heart wide open
Ever hopeful, I keep pressing on
But it seems so misguided these days
And I am constantly fighting the pain
Of giving so much of myself
Just to find this emptiness
I believe in love
It’s the very essence of all I am
Yet here I am doubting myself
Doubting the value of what I give
Stretched to the point of no return
I keep landing on my face
I know there is beauty to be found
I just can’t see it right now
My vision is so clouded with doubt
Where do I go from here?

Give up defining yourself – to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.
― Eckhart Tolle
2014

And she changed and she grew

Through the storms and the pain
She learned she was braver
Than she once knew
And she started to regain
Her place in this world
Finding a new life amidst the rubble
Of what was once her normal

“Sisu is a word that has no direct translation, but it refers to the idea of continuing to act even in the face of repeated failures and extreme odds. It is a way of living life by displaying perseverance even when you have reached the end of your mental and physical capacities”

2015

HAVE COURAGE & BE KIND

This is not a story of waste and loss, this is a story of something beautiful that you have done …

You gave that person your best and that’s all you can do.
The sacrifice makes it sacred. The cost makes it a holy act.
All the heartache becomes a sacred act of worship.
 — Rob Bell

Life is a balancing act of Fiercely holding on and gently letting go

Sometimes you just get broken and it sucks it really does. Moving forward feels like you’re struggling through deep mud, but above the sun is still shining and you hear the birds chirping and this keeps that tiny spark of hope inside of you alive. Your emotions are on roller coaster mode, anger, laughter, and tears keep arriving in a surprising succession. Your heart feels like the heaviest object you’ve ever carried. It doesn’t make sense and it probably never will but someday it won’t matter if it makes sense, it will just be. You know that giving up is just not an option so you force yourself to steady your aching heart and racing mind and keep pushing past all that appears to be waste, holding on to the lesson you’ve learned time and again, nothing is ever a waste.
There is always a purpose in the chaos.

Clinging tightly holds you back from the possibility of what could be   …

To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees – these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. But, I’m learning that recognizing and leaning into the discomfort of vulnerability teaches us how to live with joy, gratitude and grace.
– Brene Brown

Keep your eyes forward and your heart grateful, happiness will follow, I promise.

Always extend your self in love and in friendship because when you need it the most, it will come right back around to you in the most beautiful and unexpected ways. People are worth your heart and your time, that’s the real purpose of life. Community & Connection, We Belong to Each other.

“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

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Asking Questions, Finding Grace, Taking Chances

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The Summer of 2013 completely changed the course of my life. I didn’t see it coming until it was in my face and then I realized it was something I had known for a long time. The heart ache, the guilt, and the tears that followed have been intense but yet I have found a strength I didn’t know I had and grace that went far beyond anything I had ever imagined. Lately, I have begun to come out of a self induced hibernation.

Losing the me I’d always known and the life that went a long with it, left me reeling and falling flat on my face over and over. I was overwhelmed and so I shut down. I had dreams of babies and a white picket fence life since I was about five. No one could have prepared me for the heart ache of the past five years – postpartum depression, loss of income, and finally divorce. I didn’t see it coming until everything fell apart. This wasn’t my dream! This wasn’t how it was suppose to happen! This isn’t the picture I painted!

All of a sudden, I had to reimagine my life, repaint the picture, and make something beautiful out of all the broken pieces. I am still working on this, still processing what my “new life” will look like.

In many ways, I shut down on friendships because I was so overwhelmed with trying to figure out my place. Especially with friends who seemed to embody the dream I once had of a perfect little family, in a perfect little house, living the perfect life.

Obviously, I understand that nothing is perfect, but watching someone else find a way to make my dream a reality for themselves was just too painful for me to deal with. How does one fit in at play dates, birthday parties, cookouts, etc., when they’re no longer part of a typical family unit?

All the while, I was also juggling working full time and going to school full time. I got to a point where I was struggling just to process conversations and retain basic information. I felt like a shell of myself and just wanted so desperately to feel strong and together again. I cried a lot, probably more than I’ve ever cried in my life.

Yet, here I am, I’m still standing! I’m regaining my footing and finding my way. It has not gotten any easier, moments when I’m alone and Madi is gone still really, really suck. Somehow though, I am finding a new sense of peace and the ability to just be. I am still hibernating in some ways, not because I don’t love everyone per usual me, rather because this journey is so intense and personal it takes a lot of energy and time to process.

I am so extremely thankful for the handful of people who have seen me at my absolute worst and yet stayed in the mess with me. I am stronger because of them. They have offered both support and tough love. They refuse to let me wallow but they are always there to hear me out no matter how crazy I am sure I have sounded. Yes, I am strong, but they made me stronger.

Better days are on the way, I am sure of it now. 🙂

Xo
Leah

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