Friday, December 19, 2014

Gift-Wrapped

This morning I woke up totally motivated to put into action my mental goal of clearing out clutter and reorganizing the house.  Why I would choose to do this right before Christmas is a mystery to me - yet -  here I am propped up in bed with a hot steaming caramel macchiato thinking a huge clear out is a great idea.  

Therefore I'm blogging.  

To be honest, winter break from the university usually ends up being a slice of time that lets me get to the things I would normally never have time to do.  Like actually putting clothes away.  Taming the junk drawer.  Finding things in the junk drawer I had previously accused the kids of hawking.  

Whenever I just can't stand myself, my sloth mess, or the idea of continuing to live among my piles of books and papers, I take the advice of my best girlfriends and commit to having a party.  Not cocktails with friends where I can stack and stash everything into the linen closet and keep my guests quarantined to the dining room...I mean a party.  A major holiday.  Like...let's say Christmas Day when the rellies come over to celebrate.  

One of the first things that dawn on me is that I have got to clean the guest bathroom - these people (i.e. Loved Ones) are gonna be here for awhile.  Sober.  They are going to notice things, like the empty toilet paper roll and the reserve stack jammed behind the commode.  They're gonna want real hand soap.  Not dish liquid.  It would probably be a good idea for me to toss a Tidy Bowl cake into the tank, too.  Something floral-fresh-meadow scented, and blue.   

But, its not just the guest bath - there's the living room, too!  The Christmas Tree can only serve as a distraction for an hour or so.  The living room plant that died who-knows-how-long-ago will have to get thrown into composting and be replaced with something either still alive, silk or plastic. 

Hopefully no one noticed it Thanksgiving Day.  

I know I didn't.

Ironically, with thoughts of cleaning the actual house for Christmas tumbling around in my head, it occurred to me that maybe all of this inspiration wasn't just about junk drawers, dead plants, and blue toilet bowl water.  Maybe I was actually taking mental and emotional stock of this past year as it hurdles to a close.  

From ringing in 2014 on the chilly beach of Tybee with friends, to sitting here with my coffee and laptop motivating myself into inspired action...tremendous changes have happened to me, my family, and those close to me.  Some of it was sad, some challenging, and all of it was life altering in a positive way.  The waves of change that came rumbling through my life this past year were miraculous, as they continue to be - especially those that afforded me priceless life lessons - once I finally became willing enough to learn them.

Primarily (as written in the last blog entry waaay back in July), I became a mother again.  Since the miraculous, loving, collaborative arrival of my 2-year old son through kinship adoption, my life has been forever wonderfully changed.  I am absolutely loving, relishing, enjoying, soaking in, and reveling in motherhood.  I am head-over-heels in love with my baby boy.  With total confidence I can say that parenting later (in my forties) is completely different than parenting in my late 20's.  Having parented already has had its beneficial "seasoning" effects on how I/we are parenting now.  But it is more than than.  From my point of view, it seems that my general life experiences (from work, to finances, to simply maturing) has enhanced motherhood in infinite ways.  

While my husband and I are rejuvenating our parenting skills, we are also ushering our daughter through her senior year of high school and preparing her for college.  That means that tremendous changes are evident there, too.  Handing the reigns of more and more control and independence over to her has had a daily impact on all of us.  Our roles are changing, and our relationships are changed because of it.  It is very bittersweet.  T

he most unexpected part for me, is actually going through the process of allowing my new young adult daughter to make choices for herself that I think are wrong.  It doesn't matter how many people tell you that you have to let them go, let them make mistakes, and let them clean up their mistakes - doing it, actually zipping my mouth and stepping aside - is really, really hard to do.  

Sometimes I step aside out of sheer frustration, as anyone who has ever locked horns with a teenage daughter would know.  Sometimes I manage to step aside out of lightbulb wisdom that this isn't about me.  Holding myself back from blurting out to her all of the (my perspective) right answers to her drama has been and continues to be the hardest thing of all.  For her, it is a matter of trying to strike the balance of accountability, dependence, and pursuit of freedoms on an all new level, with the rewards and consequences being hers alone.  

I thought it would be much easier being a university instructor.  I see freshman come through my classes every semester, and I watch them evolve over the four months that I'm with them, and I get to witness their wings flexing.  It is a totally different matter when the wings flapping are ones you've invested in.  

So, how in the world I end up being able to compare new motherhood, changing motherhood, and the chapter in life called The Forties to tossing out dead plants, and cleaning a guest bathroom, may surprise you, but there actually is a connection:

First, the realization that the old way of doing things eventually goes out of fashion, or becomes ineffectual starts to show itself.  While there will always be habits, methods, and life hacks that will be stand-by classics, not everything stays useful or healthy.  The decor changes.  Technology ushers new decades of thought, while cultures blend and merge, making some disappear.  Room needs to be made for the new because not everything goes together anymore; there are some things that can no longer serve their purpose as they are...and not everything should be crammed together in the same space.

We toss out dead plants.  We toss outdated thoughts, stereotypes, and beliefs.  Especially the ones that hurt us personally, damage the environment we live in, or hurt the ones we love.  For me, that has meant Acceptance of things I can't change, and new ways of approaching the things that can or should change.    

Acceptance always heralds in The Second Phase of my cleaning up my life's house: The Upgrade happens.  I think of this as looking at everything (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) and asking myself these three basic decluttering questions:

1.  Do I like it?

2.  Do I love it?

3.  Do I need it?


Do I like it:  Do I like how I feel when I react to my daughter exerting her independence?  Do I like where I am spiritually?  Do I use, wear, or share this object anymore?  Is it beneficial?

Do I love it: Do I love it enough to let it go without disappearing?  Do I love where I am along my path?  Do I look forward to wearing this, sharing this, using this? Is it beneficial?

Do I need it:  Do I need this coping method?  Do I need to have my role in someone's life be strictly defined?  Do I need to continue to grow mentally, emotionally, spiritually?  Do I need this material thing to get by in life?  Is it beneficial?

If my relationships are important enough to me that I can see where I need to pull back and allow, then I change my approach and start working towards merging with that relationship's next stage.  Do I feel good right now doing, saying, being, trying, working, moving, thinking the way that I am?  If I do not...let something go.  If I do...embrace this whole heartedly.  Do I need to make a change, use this material, mental, emotional tool to be effective in my work, relationships, or well-being.  If not - again, I start to let it go.  If I do - knowing me - I'll enhance it and make it even better.  

Make it universally beneficial.

So, here I am.  Contemplating the gravity of waking up and thinking, "I need to overhaul this house before Christmas!" 

Which ended up being translated into, "I want to say 'Thank You' to this past year for all that it gave me." I will remember it as one of the most exciting chapters I've ever participated in.  I have been able to let go of a lot of stress.  I have begun to take better care of me, my needs, my wants, and maintain balance.  I have been led to redefine nearly all of my relationships into a new and healthier status - including the one with myself.  I've rooted up the old dead plants, and have started to replace them with new potential sprouts of creativity.  

I think this might be one of the best gifts under the tree this year.    

I think I will keep the change.  Merry Christmas!







Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Best Break-Up Ever!

A few days ago I stumbled across this amazing quote (pictured to the left) by Eckart Tolle from his book "A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose."  The concept behind the quote was so powerful to me, that I actually had to sit with it for a couple of days.  

It stayed with me to the point that it became central to some of my conversations with my husband Tyson.  In fact, it made such an impact on me, that I began to purposefully react (or not react) to things around me.

So often we hear people say that 'they just want to be happy.'  

"Dammit!"  they scream, "I just want to be happy!  Is that too much to ask?"  

Usually that statement is decked out with a list of the things they believe will make and keep them happy.  Hell, I'm guilty of it, myself.  I can't count the number of times that I have felt like if I could nail this just-out-of-reach goal, I will become happy.  Sometimes I think buying things will hurdle me into everlasting happiness.  And, while those things might seem to work temporarily, nothing ever lasts long.  Instead, life just becomes a constant cycle of searching for happiness grinding along in my mind, alongside most everyone else.  

It never dawned on me to forget the constant pursuit of happiness.  

The very thought of not pursuing happiness was equivalent to giving up the ship, abandoning hope, losing interest in life, and having no goals.  The fixation on becoming happy is so vested in me, that it is gift-wrapped around every goal, belief, idea, accomplishment, promotion, excursion, and experience in my life.  No matter what I do, I am always wanting for more.  I absolutely 100% believed that this was how life was meant to be lived.  It was the very definition of being alive.  

After all, no goals?  No energy.  No energy?  No willpower.  No willpower?  No life.

That was what I believed until my eyes flickered across this about a week ago:  "Happiness is ever elusive, but Freedom from Unhappiness is Attainable Now by facing what Is, rather than making up stories about it."

At first, I was offended.  What?  Happiness is elusive?  What the hell have I been doing all my life, then?  And, for what?  Nothing??

Um...Yep.  

Re-reading it, I began to move past what I initially took as an insult and moved on to the idea of being Free from chasing the Happiness from one object, goal, or job, to another.  

I settled on the feeling of Freedom.  Freedom, the very word, has an amazing ring to it.  It is a breath of fresh air.  It is a word that allows a person to look up from the daily grind and notice that not everything is grayscale.  

I considered my choices.  

Happiness or Freedom?  In this moment right now, which would I choose?  I sat on my back deck staring at my herb garden contemplating.  The pursuit of Happiness...Is it like a bad relationship you just can't get out of because from time to time it seems to promise a dribble of what you're looking for?  Yeah.  That about sums it up.   I re-evaluated Happiness.  

And that is when  I realized the little Son of a Bitch is always ten steps ahead of me, and it is never, ever going to let me catch up.  It would always just be short bouts of almost good, mixed in with broken promises paired with bad excuses.

I decided it was time to break up.   

On to Freedom, I thought.  

Oh, God...what does that mean?  

Okay...it means...not grayscale.  Not too shabby.  Not the same-old-same-old repetitive routine, either.  

Kinda nice.  Fresh air.  New altitudes.  Floating. Feeling lighter.  Smiling.

I liked it.  I liked Freedom.  The idea of it was feeling like being in the cool relationship you've always wanted, the kind that didn't require the base work that ensues when egos clash.  It was a mutually respectful relationship. 

Who knew that the search for the ever elusive happiness was a bad relationship?  Who knew that leaving the relationship would lead to instant relief?  

Back to the quote...the last thing to consider was, again, something else that felt like an insult.  The part about "making up stories about it."  Was enlightenment calling me out as a liar or a fake?  

My first reaction was that I don't make up stories - I tell the truth!  I spit out reality to the point of uncomfortable most of the time.  And then it hit me - the stories weren't about reality.  The stories were the things I used to convince myself to try to bridge the gap between what I wanted or needed to be happy.  Of which the actual arrival time is always delayed.

For some people the stories and bridges go like this:  "It would have been a great experience if it weren't for that guy opening wrapped candy through the whole play!"  Really?  It isn't that he's just a jackass, or you're sabotaging your own date night?

Or..."I would have strolled into that party with total confidence if I could have lost those last five pounds."  Really?  Because everyone in the room knows your secret weight-goal number?

Or the ultra-flexible..."It's not fair that _______________ (fill in the blank).

My bridges and stories?  They're a little messy.  Perfectionism.  Self-Control.  An unbearable self-sentence of proving I can do things the same way that other people can.  You know, like walkers and Olympic athletes.  

The spark of denial that negates disability factors for me: I honestly don't get it when something is inaccessible - I mean seriously - aren't we supposed to be able to hover by now?  What are we doing crabbing about freakin' concrete and steps?? 

Or... that it takes me forever to load me, the baby, and my chair into the car...when I should be doing it as quickly as a Walking Mom.  Really? 

And my favorite denial...I'm short.  If anyone had a Jack Russell's Napoleon complex....it is me.  I'm shocked when I can't reach something on the top shelf.  Seriously!  I'm like, "What the hell?  Who moved the Bloody Mary mix way up there??" 

What do I do to sabotage myself?  I never rest on my laurels, I'm never happy with the end-result (because there is always room for improvement),  I think this or that could have  or should have gone better, and I don't allow for mistakes on my part. 

Generally speaking, no matter how authentically happy you are in your day-to-day interactions and conversations....the happiness is always elusive when you have the habit of throwing a wet blanket over everything because you think it should either be better than it is, or that it wasn't good enough in the first place, or.....you're just not seeing the story for what it is:

Bethany...Not every place in town is going to be accessible - stop whining and help make changes.  Oh, and FYI, you're a mom who rolls, so everything it is going to take longer.  A lot longer.  And newsflash -  you're short as shit - and sidebar...stop drinking Bloody Mary's....Ceasar's are much better! Besides, the Clamato juice is on the second shelf!  

Boom.  There it is.  That is "What Is."

"What Is" is The Moment.  The Right Now.  The Present.

The past doesn't matter, it won't be personally repeated for you.  The future doesn't matter, because it isn't accurately predicted for you.  What matters is Right Now.  This moment.  This time-pod of Pure Potential.  This second of Inspired Action towards only the very next step - which by the way, is freaky blind faith.  Not the religious kind of faith.  I mean Faith as in: I'm going to take my next step because I know that the concrete will be under my hypothetical foot sort of Faith.  

The difference between keeping your eyes on the prize way down the road, versus acknowledging right now, is profound.  You can actually see the Big Picture!  Not as something outside of yourself, or too far ahead of yourself, or as a "thing" you are pursuing...No.  Instead you are looking yourself directly in the eye, where you are Right Now, taking what you see for what it is, and swiftly moving on to the very next (and only the next) step. The release right after the best break-up ever.

There lies your Freedom.  There is your departure from Un-Happiness.

Call it.  Break up with the Things.  The chase.  The pursuit.

Call it for what it is.  Feel the Freedom.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

I Traded My Prada Bag for Baby Clothes

Bethany & Trevin: Fourth of July 2014
Today I write to you from my home office, which is littered with Duplo Legos, a vintage Marshall Fields ABC baby quilt, and plastic trucks and toys.  This is pretty significant, given that two months ago, my office was only slightly littered with Post-It notes, files, metaphysical and holistic health books, and speech communication and feminism textbooks.  

It was a female's female tableau of controlled chaos consisting of papers, scribbled notes to Self, a half-empty bottle of Chanel Mademoiselle, and lipstick marked coffee cups.  

So why is this Rolling Diva's office now featuring cars, trucks, and legos?  Because through the love and collaboration of close family, my husband and I have adopted my biological great-nephew.  

Yep!  The Rolling Diva has become a Rolling Mommy - again!

Tyson and I were thinking we might be seeing light at the end of the parental tunnel with our daughter's senior year of high school upon us.  We had sat and envisioned the travel we'd be boasting, the cocktails we'd be toasting, the parties we 'd be hosting, and the steaks we'd be roasting Brazilian style.  Honestly, we were starting to call the house The Micro Mansion due to all of the fun plans we had for the joint!

And then we placed ourselves back at "Start!"  The miraculous happened, and through circumstances, all of which are imbued with and based in love, we became adoptive parents to the most magical little boy I have ever known.  Those close to me knew quite clearly that such an adventure was not on my list to do; yet those very close to me knew that it was a secret longing in my heart.  

Funnily enough, a few weeks before all of this synchronized, I was of course, out shopping for bargains.  I love to shop consignments and Goodwill to glean great buys, particularly in the realm of fabulous shoes and bags.  In fact, the Marshall Field vintage ABC baby quilt I mentioned earlier is actually is a Goodwill bargain beauty.  

One day, I innocently rolled into Goodwill to find that they had randomly received a mother load of Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Kate Spade, and Coach bags.  

I nearly peed.  

I trolled through the bins, hugging each and every designer handbag lovingly before settling on what is now my new-to-me Chanel school-bag-purse.  And after some very brief deliberation, I caved and also left with a white alligator Prada bag.  

You know, for funzies.  

I was so happy I took pictures of them and posted them to Facebook, hailing the praises of smart Goodwill shopping.  And then, within a week I found myself back at Goodwill returning the Prada bag.

A week after that I was back cashing in the gift card for a cartload of baby clothes.  

And then a week after that I traded my beloved Smart Car for a Honda Element, shocking the hell out of my husband, the car dealership, and myself.  I admit it.  I cried a little.  Okay...I cried a little at the dealership, and a little more the next morning when my beloved Smart Car was no longer in the driveway.  

However, a week after that, far better than any material possession could possibly provide...I became the mother of a beautiful baby boy.   

Had anyone told me weeks before, that I would ever trade a Prada bag for baby clothes, give up my hot little car, and willingly start the parenting path all over again at this stage of my life - I would have chanted through a bull-horn, "Oh, hell no!"  

Yet, here I am, the happiest that I have ever been, traveling the joys, the highs and lows of learning how to manage a toddler, a senior in high school, an ambitious husband, and my own ambitious self in a whirlwind of effervescent life.  To to try and describe it, I would say that it feels like an out-of-body experience, a rushing vortex of thrilling energy, and a rush of refreshing cold air all at once.  

To try and encompass the unfolding of all of the events leading up to this miracle in my life with mere words, "Divine Timing," "Divine Intervention," "Cosmic Orchestration" (or whatever you choose to call it) would still fall tremendously short.  

Has it been perfection?  

No.  Not at all.  It has been very human experience full of learning, cooperation, give and take, and new ways of maintaining balance.  Everyone in the house has a new role to play.  Everyone in our immediate and extended family have new roles to play.  All of us have grown from it. 

While I have parented an early childhood age from my chair with Rolling Diva Style...parenting a near two year old from a chair has challenged me to pull out all stops imaginable in creative problem solving.  As it happens, accessibility, strollers, diaper changes, tubby time, private time, cooking, dinner time, travel, socializing, and shopping...it's all changed...and hardly any of it fits together naturally, smoothly, or like I thought it would.  

Getting in and out of the car, grocery store, or even the house takes a lot longer and involves far more awareness than balancing a Starbucks, laptop, and files - not to mention loading and unloading the damn chair into the car.  

Shopping has gone from 'serious' internal debates of which shade of red rocks the sex goddess in me  - yet easily transitions into corporate mogul wonder woman -  to figuring out which developmental toy is needed for "lil' man" that isn't too above or below his ability.    

I used to think that trying to make my specialty secret-sauce spaghetti was a challenge with two Jack Russells and a not-so-bright Pug mingling around the kitchen as difficult.  Level Ten of such a culinary  project is that much harder with the Russells, the Pug, and now the Boy and his toys!  

Yeah.  This is definitely gonna be a Rolling Diva Lifestyle Adventure - and you know what? - I am so glad I can share it with you!  While Raspberry Vogue has no intention of becoming a Mommy Blog...it will certainly include the adventures, challenges, and rewards of this new chapter in my life.  

After all...Who would I be if not a storyteller of my Rolling Diva Lifestyle if I did not include my Grit with my Glitter? 

I mean really....This Rolling Diva Mommy carries a Chanel bag with diapers, a laptop, lipstick, and professor paraphernalia in it while wearing stripper heels.  Seriously, my son already knows the words
"Chanel," "Booty,"  and "Excuse Me?" He also dances to "The Gummy Bear Song," and "Ace of Base" on the beat.  

So, Thank You, readers, for allowing me to share this life changing moment with all of you.  

By the way - you can leave comments and ask me questions.  I will personally read them and answer them!   Maybe that way we can help each other solve the world's problems while managing things like disabled parenting, the rights of women with disabilities, education, health, and spirituality...with a touch of spice, sass, and style!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Not All New-Agers Wear Birkenstocks

As many of you know from past installments, I often find myself visually not fitting into the scene I am interested in.  Some of you may recall my first day of Feminist Theory class, outfitted in leopard skin stilettos, a push-up bra, and perfect make-up.  I had a total "Oh, shit!" moment when the course opened with the reading of a poem that harpooned Miss America, Vogue magazine, Barbie, and essentially all the glittery, froo-froo things I adore.  

Glancing around the room that day, literally feeling like Chanel in a room full of patchouli, I noticed a lot of jeans paired with t-shirts advertising different movements, feminist phrases, and nature scenes.  There were head scarves, nature jewelry, and Birkenstocks in late Fall.  I don't know about you, but when you're dressed like Barbie-who-happens-to-be-in-a-chair among hardcore Feministas...you just stick out.

Or do you?

My friend and partner in academic crimes, Lori - who by the way is absolutely beautiful and diverse, fits no one's mould, and is also a brilliant activist and writer - sat beside me in a fit of giggles and leaned over and intoned under her breath, "You're so fucking screwed!"  

I completely agreed with her.  I was screwed.  I just needed a pink pen with a marabou feather festooned atop it to be a wheelchair spin-off of Legally Blonde.

But, as it happened, I sent a home run over the pitcher's plate and hit the learning curve while keeping a death grip on my Vogue magazines, Coco Chanel Mademoiselle, and assortment of heels.  None of which makes me subservient to machismo.  

Maybe I wasn't the only one in the room to rim the learning curve, after all?

The fact is, regardless of what we wear, our thoughts and emotions are who we are, from the heart.  And, frankly...the media has never gotten it right.  Like, ever.  I have never understood the stereotypes associated with different groups.  Like the first two paragraphs of this blog entry...most people will nod in grim agreement that this is exactly what Feminists look like...which in reality, is not truthful and shouldn't be taken as a blanket statement.  Not all of the class members fit the media-based stereotype I gave you with poetic license.   

The fact is, we could choose any subgroup or clique and accurately design a definitive fashion statement around them based on what the media tells us, and believe we have the right to say that if you look and dress like this....then your belief system must obviously be  this.

But stop for a moment and realize, that if that method really is accurate, then I have completely misrepresented myself.  On sight, most people who see heels, make-up, sparkly jewelry, and blonde hair automatically think, "Bimbo."  They think, "here is a woman who gets by on her looks, has completely fallen prey to socially engendered roles, submits to men, and is not even remotely in touch with the words Human Rights, Equality, Intelligence, or Hard Work."  

If you met me, you would know instantly that none of those statements are true, or even remotely apply to me.

Let me give you an example of one encounter that I had. I get acrylic manicures regularly because when you use your hands to get around in a manual chair...it wreaks havoc on your hands, fingers, and nails.  I get the manicures because they keep my hands looking and feeling healthy and beautiful.  They save my nails and fingers from rough work...literally.  

But, instead of making the connection between hands on wheel rims and forward motion, I had a woman say to me at the copy machine at work, "Well!  Judging by your hands you obviously don't do housework!"

My instinct was to zip back at her, "And judging by your cracked and dried heels, you don't have a pumice stone or lotion."  

Instead I curved a cat-like smile at her and said, "No.  I'm not very domesticated.  My husband loves that about me."  

And rolled away.

Lately, I have been sharing more of my spiritual, new-ager, metaphysical self as I prepare to complete my degree, and begin to see clients.  I have always had an affinity towards the concept of "there are many paths home," and I am finally getting to a point where I can meld my passions, beliefs, and training into a very flexible occupation.  

I don't have to give up who I am to do it...I can keep my spirited self with compassion, come from light source but in a very human way, be spicy, be open-minded, and not pretend that I have reached higher levels and plains that keeps me from making mistakes.  I will make mistakes every day.  I think I've made at least 50 mistakes today already and I haven't had lunch.  

Yet, what I've been running into as I have begun to share my near-future plans with others, is an immediate commentary on my appearance, that goes something like this:  

"You don't look very spiritual."  

"Aren't new age people all stuck in the 60's?"  

"But you wear makeup."  

And my favorite, "You don't look like a hippie."  

Hmmm.  

Well...here's the deal.  Neither do the majority of the holistic practitioners that I have been meeting along the way.  In fact, I am finding that in the holistic community, you get just about every flavor of person imaginable, just like the Feminist community.  They are all unique, they all have a personal style, they blend in to the fabric of the crowd.  I have not seen one practitioner that might fit the media's portrayal in any stereotypical way.  Just like none of the other group-sets tend to fit media portrayals - and we know what we think about the media portrayal of women (with and without disabilities).

So today's lesson is this:  Not all new-agers wear Birkenstocks.  

In fact...this one wears stripper heels.  


Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Truth? Drop an F-Bomb and Just Breathe.

I don't know about you, but it seems I am not very Politically Correct, and this is sometimes mistaken as being not very calm or centered.  Obviously I know when to tailor my words in public to be more acceptable, sensitive, or in some cases silenced...but the inner dialogue I usually have going on?  It would probably make a sailor blush...and I don't think that is all bad.
  
Research shows that people who swear (even well educated people) tend to be more honest than those who monitor their words very carefully.  I think that maybe after years of personally hitting so many highs and lows just by living life as anyone does,  I have come to holding sort of a 50-yard line stance, regarding nearly everything, that comes complete with bullshit detectors and self-protection shields all wrapped around an insistence to Speak My Truth.  

Sometimes, lack of PC Vocabulary, Direct Honesty, and Calculated Responses batted back over the conversational net get misinterpreted by others who had expected that I will either react meekly, be clueless as to the game being played, or that they will be mindlessly agreed with on their point of argument.  When the conversation doesn't play out that way...most people react to me first in a stunned manner, second in an offended manner, and swiftly to a third defensive manner.  Occasionally, while in their defense mode, assumptions are made about me (and verbalized) that I am unenlightened, rude, or unsympathetic.  

At first, my knee-jerk reaction inside is to flicker to the thought that, "Wow...to be enlightened and helpful, maybe one does have to be more gentle and non-confrontational.  Maybe I'm not a peacemaker, a helpful person, or someone with depth of understanding after all. Maybe I do need to be more politically correct in my conversations.  Maybe I shouldn't drop the F-bomb so much - even though it does brighten and solidify the message quite strategically."  

Note I said flicker.

Right on the heels of any momentary self-doubt, I quickly realize...wait..."Oh, Hell No!"  

The fact is, there are Lightworkers who are Light Warriors.  They speak the Truth, they cut the cords of deception, and they slice away the nets and snares so many people are caught up in.  They don't hurt others.  They don't even open up cans of whoop ass on some that have potentially earned a few cans to be opened on them.  

No.  They use their words of Truth for Freedom.  Freedom for others to breathe the fresh air, break the chains of their own personal silence, the prisons of their own making, and the limits others and society have placed on them.  And sometimes, out of necessity...those words are salty, spicy, and very intentionally placed.

It is true - sometimes it is painful to hear the truth - especially when the delivery is peppered for perfect grilling.  Sometimes it is more painful to deal with the truth of a situation and gain personal freedom, than it is to remain limited, small, and entrapped; so people sacrifice themselves to limitation, and never get to experience their full potential because cutting the cords, being honest with themselves first and others second, really does hurt too much.  It is excruciatingly painful.

But I believe in short term pain for long term gain if it means there is a positive outcome.  I believe that sometimes as wounds to our Spirit heals...it often hurts far worse than the trauma that left us wounded in the first place.  I believe in and completely understand that the darkest hours are just before the dawn.  

But that means that I also know how exhilarating it is to grab that first gulp of fresh air.  I know what it is like to realize a toxic relationship is finally over.  I know what it is like to lose, because losing the battle wins the war in the end.  I know Spiritual Warfare.  I know wrestling with Self and seeing the Higher Self come out the winner.  I know the indescribable elation that comes from bouncing back to life- time after time, over and over again.  

Perhaps its simply the peaks and valleys of my life that have opened the door for me to be far less concerned with being politically correct, and instead getting right to the kernel of the issue, or perhaps I was just born with my finger on the pulse of the power of words.  But, I like that about me.  And I like that about the friends that I attract into my life.  I love that about my intimate relationships.  My family.  My marriage.

If I could wish for anything for people, whether they are dealing with pain that is physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual...it would be that they could swiftly find their Truth and be brave enough to tread the waters further out from the shore and find they can swim like a mermaid in their own inner peace, inner knowing, inner wisdom, and inner freedom.  Our battle in life is internal.  But we take it so seriously, we think it is something very real, very physical, and very tangible...and we mistake it for being reality, when it isn't.  

Something that I began to do years ago, back in the beginning of learning my truth, was a heartbeat breathwork meditation exercise.  Give it a try...

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Heart Beat Meditation

Sitting comfortably in a meditative pose, or in a comfortable chair, start to take note of your breathing.  Is it shallow?  Is clavicular?  Is it diaphragmic? If your breathing is from the clavicular area, start to bring your attention down to your diaphragm.  Ease into breathing from this place.  Begin to breathe from this place more deeply. Next, gently place your right palm over your heart and focus on your heart beat.  Begin to breathe in for two heart beats, and breathe out for two heart beats (especially if you are a shallow breather).  Work your way up to drawing in breath for three heart beats, and exhaling for three heart beats.  Work your way up to drawing in and exhaling likewise for four, then five, and then six heart beats.  Spend time becoming comfortable with each counted intake; don't move on to higher counts until you are completely comfortable diaphragmically breathing in and out at lower counts.  

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It is totally okay to only get up to three until next time.  The important thing is that you have slowed your breathing down, you have begun to get acquainted with deeper proper breathing, and you have moved your breath placement to the belly.  

In stressful moments of your day...just tune into your heart and your breathing.  They are the doorways to your truth.  They are calming.  There are no mantras to memorize.  No extravagant set ups or special outfits to wear.  

It is just you.  Your heart.  Your breath.  Your truth.  You.