Reasons For Not Being Present

I have none. Not even one tiny reason for not being here. But this blog is not dead. No sirree. Not by a long shot. I was merely…

Resting.

Revamping.

Recreating.

Life still went on. I have learned this one BIG thing! Life goes on no matter what I’m doing.

Even if the teacher of life should call roll and I don’t say “Present” or “Here”, the class will still go on with the others that ARE present and IT WILL NOT STOP BECAUSE I’M NOT THERE!!!

Yes, life goes on.

I still turned 54.

Then I turned 55.

I still received good and bad news.

Now I am assessing the situation to see how I want to proceed from here.

I have ideas. I am in the middle of several projects. Not really big stuff, just stuff I’ve decided to do or become. I’m still decluttering. Physically and mentally decluttering. I’m debating on whether to become a true minimalist. The lifestyle is so appealing to me after being such a packrat for all my life. The past few moves were just horrible, all because we have SO MUCH STUFF! Being able to move just a few pieces of furniture and a few personal belongings would be heavenly. And I’m older now, why keep putting myself though such torture? So this is an ongoing project.

For so many years, one of my biggest obstacles to moving on in life was “letting go”. Decluttering my life has been a great lesson in letting go and I have discovered just how good it feels to let go.

But I’m not letting go of this blog.

It is a safe place for me.

And I’ve come back…

Reach Anyway

There are days when everything seems wrong, when little things hurt you for no good reason. And then there are days, when the world just sings to you, from the minute you open your eyes to the minute you shut them again at night. ~Roswell

It’s so weird to think a thought, read something, or talk to someone, then walk away feeling so insignificant and unloved.

Happiness is just one thought away and you know its there but for the life of you, you just can’t touch it. It seems light years away. But you reach anyway.

And then you sleep.

Healing comes.

You wake up feeling like you are not so insignificant after all. And there is love all around.

Life is just so strange. But so so very good.

I Have To Forgive Her

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” ~ Paul Boese

It has always been easy for me to forgive. I’ve never really held grudges against people and I’ve been proud of that fact.

Until now.

There is a person in my life that, at one time, I prayed “God, please just get her out of my life”. God answered, and she is, for the most part, out of my life. I don’t have to deal with her anymore on a daily basis. Her name does come up every once in awhile. If I mention her name amongst friends, everyone’s back arches and their claws come out. She’s hurt many more than just me. But that’s not my concern. I have to swallow hard and forgive her…for me.

Forgiving her won’t change the past, but it will tear down this wall that has built itself around my heart. Forgiving her won’t change a thing, except me. She won’t even know about it, but I will.

She did a lot of good things for me, and I try to think of those things but still, even the good brings a bitter taste to my mouth.

I am a better person because of her. I owe a lot to her, most of all, I owe her my forgiveness. I still don’t want her in my life and this is one way of cleansing and removing her completely. As long as I hold on to the bitterness, she will be forever with me.

So this is when I pull from the depths of all I’ve learned and send love and forgiveness to someone who would never even admit she needs forgiveness. Each time her name comes up I have to just close my eyes and think love, love, love.

Now is the time I have to walk the walk and talk the talk of what I’ve been trying to learn and live…that you don’t love a person because of who they are or what they’ve done. You love them just because they ARE. Every soul is worthy of love. No matter what.

Not one of God’s children can be evil. At worst, he or she is hurt. At worst, he or she attacks others, and blames them for their pain. But, they are not evil.

Yes, your compassion must go this deep. There is no human being who does not deserve your forgiveness. There is no human being who does not deserve your love. ~ Paul Ferrini

I have to dig deep and find compassion for this person.

So that I can be free and travel lightly upon the earth, I have to let go of the baggage.

I have to forgive her.

Hold Tight

When Little Miss ASIJ was born, before we left the hospital, I remember one time when I was holding her and she wouldn’t stop crying. I was so tired, I needed to sleep and she needed to stop crying. I felt helpless and didn’t know what to do. Finally Ms. Heroic Nurse came in and took her from me. Ms. Heroic Nurse simply wrapped Little Miss ASIJ tightly in a baby blanket and instantly she stopped crying. Handing her back to me, she said, “She’s not used to all this space. She’s feeling insecure. Just wrap her up tight and hold her close and she’ll feel secure.”

So simple.

Just wrap her up tight and hold her close.

She’ll feel secure.

Ahem. Ok. So I look a little rough here but I’m guessing I was pretty tired. I can still look at this picture and remember the sacred, holy bliss of holding her in my arms. So much lovin’ going on here.

Little Miss ASIJ is 11 now. I can’t wrap her in a blanket and hold her in my lap like I could when she was a baby. Though I’ve tried.

Thank goodness she still loves to hug. We hug ALOT.

Life is good.

This could be an answer to start some of the healing that needs to happen between parents and their children. Especially their teens. And between husbands and wives. Wrap them up tightly in your arms and hold them close. Big bear hugs. Hug them until it becomes uncomfortable. You know that moment when your hugging someone and its gone on a little long and you start to feel awkward? Keep hugging. Hug them until they start squirming and then hold on a little tighter and hug a little longer. Our families need to feel secure.

Which brings to mind one of my favorite quotes…

Breathe deep, walk slow, hold tight to those you love, for the sun is setting and it will be over so fast. ~ Ken Pierpont ~

Hold tight.

Unconditional Love And The Fires of Hell

I said I wasn’t going to do it after December 31, 2010. Struggle, that is. I’m still struggling with a few things that I just can’t seem to find heartfelt answers to. I’ve carried them into the new year.

But I’ve changed the name – now they are challenges. Much easier to deal with. I may not come out the winner in a struggle, but I can always face and win a challenge.

The main challenge is my “faith” or what I really believe. I have rebelled against the vengeful, strike ’em dead if they get out of line God of my childhood and discovered a more loving, gentle God. I am much more comfortable with Him.

I enjoy believing He’s preparing a place in Heaven for me. But still have trouble with the concept of “hell”. If God truly loves us unconditionally, why would He even create such a place? We would never cast a child that we loved unconditionally in a lake of fire to burn forever. Would we? Even if they disobeyed. Even if they disobeyed over and over again. But yet, that’s what I’m asked to believe about God. Just doesn’t make sense to me. I know there’s the whole Satan story, and us being born sinners and all, and I’m having trouble with that one too.

This “belief” challenge is nothing new to me. I’ve been challenged with it all my life and have really gotten down and dirty with it the past 13 or 14 years. How do I reconcile what I’ve been taught with what I feel? How do I feel good about taking Little Miss ASIJ to a church that preaches hellfire and damnation? Can’t do it. Won’t do it.

Many’s the time I cried myself to sleep as a small child because of our Pastor’s ending question. He would point his finger at the congregation (but I swear he was always pointing at me) and ask “If you walked out of those church doors tonight and were hit by a car, would you be ready to meet your saviour?” I asked for forgiveness every Sunday night (and every other night) and I knew I was “saved”, but what if…just what if I sinned before I had another chance to ask for forgiveness??? I lived my little life in fear of God…something I won’t ask Little Miss ASIJ to do.

These days I am in love with God. I believe in angels. I believe that Jesus was the Son of God and that He died an untimely death at the hands of men that were threatened by the message he brought. I believe that message was that God, Our Heavenly Father, was pure LOVE. I believe I was born to serve and show that love and pass it on. And I am content with that.

I believe God would have me let go of what does not serve me. I believe He would have me let go of those beliefs that were born in fear.

I’m sure that most God-fearing Christians would say I have been blinded by Satan or that I just don’t understand. You guys…get over it.

Everything else will just have to be reconciled with time…I’m trusting God to give me the answers and to give me peace until it’s all figured out.

Well now, I seem to have talked myself through that challenge.

Now on to the other challenges in my life.

Ok…bring it on.

Lean Forward Into Your Life

“Lean forward into your life…catch the best bits and the finest wind. Just tip your feathers in flight a wee bit and see how dramatically that small lean can change your life.”— Mary Anne Radmacher

This is how I want to live my life…leaning forward. Tipping my feathers in flight a wee bit.

And so – this is my goal for 2011…to lean into life. To lean, I have to learn to trust. Trust that I’ll never fall, but even if I should, someone will be there to catch me. Sometimes trusting is such a sweet comfort.

Happy New Year my friends. 2011 is going to be the greatest one yet!

Giving Up The Struggle

I am giving it up, the struggle, finally.

I’m giving myself until December 31, the end of 2010, to grieve, mourn, vent, rant, rave, feel sorry for myself, have pity parties, holler, scream, stomp my feet, wail and weep about all the things in my life that didn’t turn out like I thought they should turn out. Everything that hasn’t worked out. All the children that I didn’t have. Everything that I dreamed of that didn’t happen. Everything I longed for that got pushed to the side. The “me” I thought I would be at 53. My dreams that just aren’t going to be. The way life “should” be. In fact, all the “should haves, would haves, could haves” that beat me up all the time.

This has been a year of struggle. Struggle with my beliefs, with guilt over things I could do nothing about, with tiredness, with trying to age gracefully.

2011 will be the year of ending those struggles. What I can change I will change. What I can’t change or have no control over, I will accept and move on. What I don’t understand I will place in God’s hands until he gives me understanding and peace. So 2011 should be interesting.

Last night I read this from Sue Monk Kidd’s “Dance of the Dissident Daughter”.

There is deep wisdom in giving up the fight to make it go away. When we instead come home to our path, we come home to what is. You are where you are. So be there. Stop trying to protect yourself from the harshness of right now, fleeing into a long fabrication about how it’s going to be one day. That’s a way of avoiding the here-and-now truth of our lives.

Wow.

You are where you are. So be there.

I’m giving up the fight. I’m coming home to my path. I’m coming home to what is. And though what is certainly is not harsh at all – the harshness lies in imaginings of my own doing. My own thoughts about how things should be.

Certainly I have to find what “my path” really is. It is definitely not the path of any other. It is MY PATH. I’m taking ownership. And I’m taking it seriously.

I’m going to enjoy this journey now more than ever before.

Mainly because I’m dropping the oars and floating downstream. Taking the path of least resistance. Giving up the struggle, giving up the fight.

Finding peace.

This feels so right.

I Am An Information Hoarder

Hi. My name is ASIJ and I am an information hoarder.

It’s obvious. Just walk into my home.

Boxes and boxes of printed out material. Stacks of paper on every possible flat surface.

I even bought a table to sort on – which is now stacked with boxes and paper. A lot of it I didn’t have time to read at the moment so printed it out for later – evidently MUCH later. Like NEVER! But I had good intentions and its all good stuff – too good to throw away! And some of it is stuff I’d like to keep for reference that needs to go in files or notebooks. Amidst all these papers are important papers that I REALLY might need one day but wouldn’t be able to find if my life depended on it.

I’m drowning in it. I’m causing my family to drown in it.

All my fault.

Or imagine this if you will: someone might be having a problem and I have just the material that will help them conquer all – if I can just find it its somewhere here I know I saw it just the other day. Well, you understand.

Or maybe you don’t.

I need help.

Enter…the garbage can (and friendly shredder).

Breathing becomes difficult when I think about shredding – seriously. It’s just so…permanent. But I could free up a LOT of space if I’d just throw it all away (except for the important papers of course). And just when I start throwing away, suddenly, EVERY paper somehow magically becomes important. Weird how that happens.

I’m doomed.

With love from my messy heart,
ASIJ

Desiderata

My favorite writing of all time…

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

—Max Ehrmann. 1927

Know this: a way is always provided. Always.

The last 45 or so days have really been mind boggling, gut wrenching, tear jerking days. After my boss and friend, Frank, died, I really struggled for a few days about so many things. He came to me, even before he died, in dreams. One particular dream I had the day of his funeral – he wasn’t in it, but it was HIS funeral I was preparing for in the dream. Then, a few days ago, I had another dream in which I heard his voice but never really saw him. But after all, it was his voice that commanded so much of my attention, so that’s all I needed. In each dream, I have determined (with much help from Mr. ASIJ, my dream guru) that the underlying theme is “Let go”.

Why pick the hardest thing in the world for me to do and ask me to do it?

There are things I need to let go of but can’t. There are things I want to let go of but can’t. I think the Universe is telling me to find a way.

Ok Fine.

Another underlying theme in the dreams is the fact that things are right in front of my face, right under my nose, and I can’t see them. They sometimes are even pointed out to me and I see them then, but when I go back to them, I can’t see them.

I want to leave you today with something Mr. ASIJ wrote in an email to someone who was asking, in a nutshell, what’s next?

“Know this: a way is always provided, always. De-focus on what’s going on elsewhere, and focus on what is wonderful right in front of you. It gets better from there.”

And therein lies the answer, once again, right in front of my face. Thankfully, this time I see it.