Leaning into ourselves

Writing a book about one’s life is a unique experience. It is exhilarating, painful, exciting, insightful, gut-wrenching, transforming, liberating and difficult. It is much like grief. Parts of us die in our stories. Things like innocence lost at the hand of a sexual predator. Hope dying with the loss of a dream. Tragic accidents taking away someone we need to feel safe and secure. The list is long.

Being a therapist for over 25 years, I have entered into the darkness of tender broken hearts countless times offering a place for hurting people to safely share the pain hidden inside. Throughout that time, I have shared with them some of my painful experiences in small pieces when it seemed appropriate. It usually offers comfort to know others have survived trauma and have personal understanding of the pain endured. My painful experiences in life, resurrect into the ability to help others navigate through similar challenges. Often, when there is a death, resurrection is coming. It’s only a matter of time.

As I was writing this weekend, I relived the most devastating experiences in my childhood and how my life was effected by them, all in one afternoon. Leaning into my past in an intense and vulnerable way, things stirred inside of me that were hidden for a very long time. There are times we just can’t know what we are holding until we access the weight of the pain. We simply don’t know what we don’t know.

Those who know me best would know I am a pretty balanced, calm, laid back, fun, genuinely happy, joyful, funny, life lover. Dealing with my emotional baggage, choosing not to push it down, is how I stay that way. Knowing what I know about denial and avoidance, the pain of reality is much easier to handle.

There was a place inside of me that was hurting and hopelessly lost for decades and I didn’t even realize it.  The part of me held captive was released and at first it was brutally painful. Because of God’s great love for bringing healing though connection, a friend was available and willing to be a very safe, caring space for me to be vulnerable. It happened to be  one of the few people in my life specifically able to help me by offering truth to replace a lie I believed for 35 years. That truth has since penetrated through my being and I am so grateful.

May you enjoy the comfort of a caring friend in time of need. May you also be the one to offer comfort to another who is hurting. May you experience redemptive resurrections from losses in your life. It is how pure love operates.

It’s a great day!

The mysterious power of music and memory.

My life has been truly remarkable. When considering the diversity in people I’ve met, beautiful places I’ve been, experiences embraced, gratitude pours out of me.

Through a request he sent on Facebook, I recently reconnected with a friend I met in Paris, France in 1981. He was an american pilot who traveled with his guitar, original songs and a very delightful personality. It was near the end of my second year in Paris at the time and was heading back to the States soon.

We met at the American Legion Post. There were a group of us enjoying his music that evening. Though he and the flight crew left the next day, we stayed in touch. The specific time frame escapes me but relatively soon after that, he sent me recordings of his original songs.

By this time, I was back in Michigan working on my undergraduate degree. Listening to his music, I enjoyed the great memories of Paris and the life unfolding before me.

As with many long distance friendships, we lost touch through the years as our lives were very different. New music caught my attention and I listened to his songs less and less.

Reconnecting with him now has been truly delightful. He went on to write and record more songs as he flew around the world. He sent me his CDs including the original album now on CD. I have been listening to them the last few days.

Music has great power to access our hearts and minds. As I listen to his familiar old songs and enjoy the new ones, simultaneously I am transported back to life as I knew it 35 years ago, while reliving moments of life lived since then, merged with present day experiences and transitioning to thoughts of what rich adventures are still to come.

We carry within us treasures collected along our journeys. Love and kindness we have shown and have been shown continue to live long after the moments took place.

God creatively provides in ways beyond my imagination. He includes people, places and memories to remind us of how lovingly present He is and has been in our lives.

May you embrace life aware of the One who is always with you, comforts you when you grieve, provides for your every need and invites you into new adventures everyday.

Finding joy in life remembering my lifelong Companion holds my heart and mind in ways only Love can.

It’s a great day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memories

There is a commercial airing on TV lately for a medication to help people with memory loss. There is a line in the commercial that says something like “Your memories make you who you are.” I am grateful that is not true. We are significantly more than our memories. We are the product of what we have experienced and been taught whether or not we remember everything.

Typically, when people come for counseling, they realize they are “stuck” someplace. They have tried to change whatever is holding them back. After a period of time, they realize they can’t change it themselves so they seek counsel. Our time in sessions together involve getting to the source of the struggle inside of them. It is often linked to a perception of themselves from an experience long ago. It is often attached to a memory.

Memories are powerful. However, they do not define us. History doesn’t change. Perspective does. We can remember the same moment in time with a different perspective and a whole new awareness begins to surface. Sometimes it even changes how we perceive ourselves and those around us in the present.

May you experience a new perspective of an old memory that will open up a place inside of you leading to healing and joy.

Finding joy in life, remembering, embracing new perspectives and creating new memories through living life to the fullest.

It’s a great day!

 

 

 

Hiding

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Living in a culture driven by comparison, we often evaluate ourselves and others with an endless list of requirements to be valuable and acceptable. We are painfully aware of our flaws and fear exposure.

When fear of rejection or criticism consumes us, we learn to hide our true selves and project a perceived better self. This leads to an endless, tiring cycle of performance leaving little room for truly enjoying life.

We were created with unique personalities, gifts, talents, and passions. Settling into and embracing the beauty of how we were created leads us to a place of contentment and joy. It is from the acceptance of ourselves we learn to embrace, value and love others.

May you experience the joy of the Creator as you embrace the life only you can live.

It’s a great day!

Finding Joy In Life

Wow. It’s amazing what 18 months of life can hold! I have reached a point in my new normal seemingly ready to start posting here again.

Richard passed almost 4 months ago. Grief is transforming. Discovering life from a different perspective is cleansing. It is not without pain, uncertainty, challenges or disappointments.

My emerging life is intriguing, filled with wonder and endless, sometimes overwhelming  possibilities. I have moved from gut wrenching waves of grief to holding Richard safely in my memories. The journey we traveled together was very hard yet worth every trial. Many people have encouraged me to write a book about what we experienced. No one wanted to share the story more than Richard. His desire was to share the good, the bad and the ugly,  if it could help others in their trials to find joy and freedom. (He did say I didn’t have to share ALL the ugly. :))

May you find joy in life today as you embrace the beauty in you and around you.

It’s a great day!