Tag Archives: personal reflections

authenticity

Be your authentic self.  Buzz words.  Everyone is saying things like this it seems these days.  But what does it truly mean?

I’m sure we all have our own take on what it means to be authentic.  But without spending time alone with yourself, how do you truly know if you are your own true authentic self, or if you are picking up on pieces of stronger personalities?  How do you know you aren’t just being what you are expected to be?

In this world, being authentic is hard.  There are expectations out there.  Go to University.  Get a high paying job.  Get married, have a family.  Don’t get divorced.  But where in all this does it fit to be truly authentic?

It doesn’t.

I have lived that life.  I was who everyone wanted me to be.  I did the education, I had great aspirations and hopes for a career.  I had the six figures.  I had the marriage and the family.  And all the illusions I had to maintain to keep up that façade.  I was miserable.

I got separated.  Parts of the false me started to fall away.  I opened up about the horrors of my relationship and people were shocked and stunned by what I had kept hidden.  But this is part of my story.  The true me.  I looked at my life and realized I wasn’t happy in that career.  I wasn’t truly interested in doing research or the other things I needed to do in order to be successful in that world.  I dropped it.  And I can tell you, it felt good.  It was a burden lifted off my shoulders that I didn’t realize I was carrying around.

I started exploring who I felt I was.  It was a redefining period of time.  I explored things that made be happy.  I sat.  I meditated.  I did yoga.  I went and spent time with just myself.  I was lost for over two decades, but somewhere in the silence, I found me.

Not everyone likes the me I am today, and I am ok with that.  I have been passed up for opportunities that I am more than qualified for simply because I no longer follow the corporate rules, and that is ok.  I forgive the people and the situation.  I thank the Universe for the experience and go forward knowing that I am exactly where I need to be, because where I am, is where I am accepted for who I truly am.  I am welcomed and encouraged to be my own authentic version of myself.  It has turned out better than anything I have ever expected or imagined.

That feels better than all those goals I had been chasing.  I wouldn’t say that I didn’t enjoy pieces of that time because there are many parts that I loved and would do again.  But knowing now what it is to be fully me, I will not sacrifice my authenticity for any of the chairpersons, department heads or managers that think they have control over my fate.  They don’t control anything.  I am free.

And I am very happily and authentically me.

we all experience a little sadness

We all get into a funk from time to time, don’t we?  I did this week.  I had some changes occur in my life and I know I wasn’t responding to them in the most positive way.  I knew they were coming, it wasn’t as if I was blindsided.  I knew.  I was just…sad.  Sad for the changes because it wasn’t what I was wanting or looking for or even hoping on.

But it happened anyway.

Sometimes change can be difficult, particularly when we do not embrace it.  It is ok.  We are all allowed to be a little sad, or a little depressed, or in that funk.  I think the most important thing to remember is that when we do, we should acknowledge those feelings.  Let them be present.  Sit with them for a while, then let them pass on their merry way.  Without sadness, we do not know happiness.  Without the storm, we can’t recognize the calm.

Don’t be sad that it’s over, smile because it happened.  Who said that?  Dr. Seuss perhaps. It is a good mantra.  I will try to not be sad that it is over.  I am smiling because it happened.  I am pleased to have experienced it all and created the connections I did.  Some things are in our lives for a purpose, no matter how short the period is.  They are all significant in creating us who we are.

Onwards and upwards.

what strength means

You could look at the literal word and think of bodybuilders or construction men or firefighters even.  That is simply physical strength though.  What about the other strengths out there?

Strength to me is determination and courage.  Strength is the struggling student who works a full time job, still makes it to classes and still completes all the requirements to graduate and move their life into a new plane.  Strength is the cancer survivor who stays positive during the surgeries, the radiation treatments and the chemotherapy while still being that positive beacon for her children and her husband.  Strength is the father going into that surgery knowing full well that he may not wake up from the anesthesia yet taking the chance because if he doesn’t, the cancer still wins.  Strength is the wife who stands by his side and supports him because that’s all she can do.

Strength is the child who stands up for his friend against the schoolyard bully, even though he fears being the next target.  Strength is the single mother who gets up and goes to work every day to a job that causes her pain, yet she goes anyway because that is what her children need her to do.  Strength is the woman who leaves an abuser before it goes too far.  Strength is the man suffering depression, but he still gets out of bed every day.

I see all these people around me.  Perhaps they do not see their strength, but others do.  Strength is all around us.  We all have our own battles.  Some are more visible than others.  Don’t judge others based on what you think you see, for their story is like an iceberg: you may see the tip poking out above the surface, but the rest of the story and reasons for who they are and why they do what they do are hidden underneath in the dark waters.

Have an open mind and an open heart.  Give acceptance and love.

second chances

How do you decide who is worthy of a second chance in life?  How do you deem the worth of one’s value?

I know this is far too broad a topic, and extenuating circumstances will change the outcome for many people, depending on what the situation looks like.  But in general, are we programmed to cut people off or to continue to give them chances to succeed?  Where do we draw the line for our own mental or physical security?

This has nothing to do with past relationships that are creeping back in, although I know that is often where people tend to consider the second chances coming into play.  I am taking this as a much broader topic.  Think about reformed drug addicted individuals, gamblers who no longer gamble, military personnel who have come back from deployment with severe PTSD, or the teenager who has tried to take his/her own life.

It seems to me that the majority of the topics that I have considered have a mental health component attached to them.  Whether it is an addiction, or there is something else happening that causes mental unwellness, the bottom line to me is that it is an illness.  There are so many stigmas attached to mental illness, and that in itself is a hurdle to conquer.  Mental illness needs the same care and attention as physical illness.

Do people suffer the same lingering prejudices if they had pneumonia, broken bones or even cancer as those who have ADHD, bipolar disease or schizophrenia?  Generally, no.  Why?  Because if it is a physical ailment, people can visually see that the individual is better.  But with mental illness, it takes trust and a leap of faith to believe that the individual has healed or is under control.

Trust.  Faith.  Support.

Everybody is worthy of a second chance.  Particularly those who have realized their need for help and sought it out.  Why should they be shunned for this higher level thinking?  Because they have identified their own need?  It could happen to every one of us in some form or another.  Life is full of second chances.  You may be that second chance for someone who needs it.

the world changed overnight

The world has changed for so many people since Inauguration Day.  I avoid the news for my own reasons, and have for over ten years now, but nothing stops the important stuff from reaching me.  Clearly, this is important.

I am not an American.  Right now, I am quite thankful for that, however, I do have many good friends who are.  What keeps me from sleeping are the reasons why people living in America are fearful.  People who had rights given to them by previous administrations who are now at risk of having their rights taken away.

Immigrants.  Refugees.  Lesbians and Gays.  Transgender.

People, please.  Love is Love.  Humanity is Humanity.  Borders are imaginary lines drawn up by people wanting to claim more for themselves.  Greed.  Hate is created through propaganda.  Fear is brought on by those breeding hate towards others.

Racism.  I have no use for it.  We as a world should be over this by now.  Religion should be celebrated and used to understand one another, not used as a weapon of war.  Your God did not ask you to kill others or keep them from safety.  Man did that.

LGBQT hate.  Love who you love.  Let others love who they love.  Who said nature always gets things right?  Live your life and let others live theirs.  Your rights do not have more weight or value than others.  Same sex marriage is still marriage and still deserves all the rights and privileges awarded to heterosexual marriage.  Don’t like it?  Go move to Antarctica.  My heart broke last night as I read some very real fears from a homosexual American.  Thoughts I had not considered, but make complete sense, and my heart broke for them all.

I used to believe that the president was just the posterboy, but that he didn’t have the actual power to make such radical changes.  I now fear that I was wrong.  That if he is just a puppet, that the people who truly do make these things happen are just like him, and the devil has been invited to run that country.

I too fear what the future will bring.  Perhaps he will create a wall not just on his south side, but maybe on the north too.  Maybe then we will be protected from this mad man.

the art of minimalism

I have been doing a lot of reading lately. A lot. Much of it has been blog posts and articles on minimalism.  I need that extra encouragement and motivation to get back to some simplicity, as many of us do from time to time.

When my exhusband and I first parted ways, I bought a home for myself and my sons. We didn’t have a lot to put into our home, and it seemed rather bare.  I wanted to buy quality furniture that would last for a good long time, but I also wanted it to fit into our lifestyle. I also didn’t want to go into debt just to furnish the house.  So, some pieces came from Ikea, or ikea-esk shops.  Relatively inexpensive, but will do the job needed until I was ready to get the real deal.  And it was fine to start with.  We were just incredibly happy to be moving on with life in a positive note. 

After about five months, I found the dining set that spoke to me.  It had a rustic style, was made with refurbished wood, and the hardware was handmade.  It spoke to me on so many levels.  The style, the reuse of resources, the handmade personal touches.  It felt very earthy and helped me feel connected to nature the way I like to be.   I had saved the money needed which was great because that meant I wasn’t going into debt to buy this gorgeous piece of furniture.  

This was the only piece of furniture I have purchased for the house.  In all fairness, we don’t need anything else at this point badly enough to warrant the spending.  But where we did go wrong was the little spending.  The toys that add up but don’t get played with.  The extra craft supplies that we bought without specific purpose but had grand ideas for.  The extra stuff for Christmas that really wasn’t needed, wanted, or used, but was bought for the sake of volume for Christmas morning. 

Clutter affects us in so many ways.  It affects us mentally because there’s this mess looming over our heads that we know needs cleaning.  The dust that accumulates because we can’t properly dust around the extra stuff.  We just feel better when there is less around us.  I know that, yet I still fell into the trap of having stuff.

So, over the next 50 days, I am embarking on a personal challenge to declutter my home, and prepare a healthy and welcoming environment.  What I am hoping to achieve is mental comfort, a clean home that houses simply what we need or truly want.  Those things that are no longer necessary need to go.  Those things that hold negative feelings and negative memories must leave the premises.  These things create mental clutter, which is just as harmful.  Once this is done, my creative living can have the freedom to expand into the open spaces. And for me, this is very important. 

I encourage everyone to consider how the things in your environment affect you…both good and bad.  Minimalism is not for everyone, and it looks different for everyone too.  What is the same is the stress relieving effect it should provide.