Do I HAVE To Forgive…THEM???

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Sometimes forgiving others is easy.  If someone forgets something small and it won’t hurt anything to get or do what ever it was another time, no biggie.  It’s another matter if it’s something important needed for a deadline at work, or for a significant event.  Rarely is it a HUGE deal though.  Often there’s a work-around.

But what about those who harm you?  How hard is it to forgive them….and should you?

As the quote above says….yes, but not for them.  It doesn’t condone their behavior in any way either.

It’s another aspect of the letting go attitude of mindfulness.  When you forgive, you are no longer holding on to the anger and pain caused by their harm, and that negative energy is released.  Then, the negative won’t have that hold on you.

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The negative energy is from the Bad Wolf.  When it’s gone, then you can focus on feeding the Good Wolf.  When you feed the Good Wolf, you will be able to be more positive, and bring your best self into all you do.

As far as my 2 ex’s go; ex #1 I rarely even think about.  Forgave him his controlling actions long ago.  Ex #2 is the father of my girls, so I still have to (for now anyway) deal with him.  I have forgiven his abuse from the past, but I will not stand for anything going forward.  Our court ordered coparenting counselor posits that as we are no longer married, anything he says or does is no longer considered abuse…that my calling it so gives him power.  What are your thoughts on  the subject?

7 Attitudes of Mindfulness…Plus, Part 2

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Last time I started talking about attitudes of mindfulness.  This next one ties in with one from then; patience.

…and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

~Anais Nin

I love the quote above; it speaks to trusting that change is ok and necessary.  Also trusting and having the patience to wait for the transformation to take place.

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The fifth attitude is that of acceptance.  When I was learning mindfulness, what my therapist told me to do was when I felt my anxiety and anger building was to stop, acknowledge and accept that that was how I was feeling.  Then I would be able to not let my feelings color my actions.

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Miss M LOVES to sing the Disney song who’s title is a variation on the next attitude; letting go.  (Sometimes I catch Miss J singing too, but most of the time she acts like she’s sooooo over it.)  When we talk about letting something go, any of the 3 of us might break into it.  This is difficult for me sometimes to do, but I”m getting better.  Same with Miss J.

I have a bit of a confession here…I. LOVE. to. sing…..and I do so whenever possible.  I’m sure you probably have that song in your head now.  I’d say I’m sorry, but…I’m sure as we continue on our journey together this will only be the first of MANY times.

 

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The seventh attitude of mindfulness is that of generosity.  Mother Teresa was unarguably one of the most generous people of our time.  In her quote above, she points out the need to do more than just giving money, but also putting real love into the giving.  That could be doing something for people, like buying presents for those less fortunate; working in a soup kitchen or shelter; being a big brother/ big sister to a troubled child; the list goes on.  Sometimes people just need to feel heard, and that someone gets it.

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When I started this post, I was thinking that this last attitude I was going to downplay.  The attitude is one on non- striving, which in today’s world didn’t seem to make sense.  On further reflection though….it IS important.  I’m not saying NOT to aspire to better things….but don’t seek them to the exclusion of all else.  Slow down and take the time to be, to experience the beauty and joy that is life.  What needs to be done will be.

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 What have your experiences been with the attitudes listed above?  I would love to hear your stories!  Like my blog?  I would be honored for you to share it!

7 Attitudes of Mindfulness…Plus, Part 1

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Learning to be mindful is a process, but one that benefits you in a myriad of ways.  It helps fight PTSD, any emotional issues, increases your ability to focus, and may even help combat memory loss.  There are numerous physical benefits as well, from pain relief, reducing heart disease, and improving sleep to aiding in weight loss.

Mindfulness originated in Buddhism originally as a meditation performed while seated.  Since then, it has been adapted to our more active lifestyle, and is now recognized as a form of cognitive therapy.  (My former psychologist was a certified trainer in it, and taught me.)

All these attitudes are not easy to change, some more so than others.  The first attitude of mindfulness is non-judging.  To me that means not only to not judge others, but also not judging yourself too harshly.  You never know what’s going on in other people’s lives to make them act the way they are.  (There are a few exceptions, but…)

The next attitude to practice is patience.  When I was growing up, people at the church my parents brought me to used to joke that they didn’t want to pray for patience, as they would then be given nothing but test after test to try to grow it.  Of course this was not what they wanted!  Counting to 10 before responding to something helps here.

The third attitude is having a beginner’s mind.  This means approaching every situation as if its the first time you have encountered it.  Even if it’s the 200th time your kids are acting out.  Don’t go into the situation thinking you know what they’re thinking or feeling….they might surprise you.

Next time I’ll get into the rest of the practices of mindfulness.  What have your experiences been with the ones listed above?  I would love to hear your stories!  Like my blog?  I would be honored for you to share it!

Why Are YOU Here?

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Finding the reason you have been put on this earth is the single best use of your time.  When you know that, and can figure out a way to do that, things start falling into place.

When I was a little girl, I always thought that what I wanted to do was just be a mom and housewife.  (A testament to the awesome job my mom did.)  In middle and high school, I got into the trumpet, and fell in love.  I had the talent for it; from my freshman year through when I had my head injury at the end of my junior year, I was in every band there was.  By my sophomore year I was the soloist for the marching/ pep band, and second chair in concert and jazz bands.  I was planning on being a professional trumpeter.

Unfortunately in the accident at the end of my junior year, that all changed.  I was on the way to take my SATs when my friend I was riding with went off the highway.  The result of the head injury as applies to what I thought I was supposed to do was that I could no longer control the muscles in my face for the most crucial octave to control.  I tried though….for a LONG time to regain it….years.  I was in college before I gave up on that ever coming back.

Years would pass and I went along, doing what at the time I thought was living the best way I could.  I guess, to cut myself some slack, it WAS then best I knew…then.  As Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better.  Then when you know better, do better.”  I finished my degree, then though I tried all I found for work was retail jobs…not even managerial.  I’d divorced my first ex after he decided I was going to work all day and he stay at home doing different projects that were going to bring in money…eventually.  (We were also living in the dank,  musty in-law apartment of his parents house.)  He knew I had wanted to be a housewife and mother, and “supposedly” wanted it too…but I was almost 40 and could see myself doing the same thing 10 years down the road.  So I made plans and left.  That divorce, though we had very little of our own to speak of, took about a year and a half….he was just being difficult.

Then I met ex #2.  He was a widower, Miss J. was just 18 months old, and he wanted someone to be a SAHM with her.  (SAHM is Stay At Home Mom if you  haven’t heard it.)  Long story short, I got pregnant with Miss M., he asked me to marry him (and I found out I was pregnant 2 weeks later), and after the marriage the mental and emotional abuse started….very subtly.

Fast forward 6 years and more heartaches than good times later, I decided I needed to think about re-entering the workforce.  I knew I couldn’t do retail again with a family (not that I wanted to…15 years was enough).  We did too many things/went places on the weekends, and my girls needed me at bedtime.  I decided I was going to get an MBA before I tried to go back.  Within a month of starting the program, he told me he’s done trying to make our marriage work.  Do I back out of the program though?  Nope, I keep going…finishing with a 3.37 in the middle of the 3 day trial for the divorce almost 2 years and LOTS of struggle later.

So it all settles out, I’m moved out of that home and into my own place, and I’ve started sending out resumes.  I don’t get any interviews, and realize that I don’t want to help build someone else’s dream….I want to build mine.  I want to help people be their best selves.  I want to support those who have been beaten down emotionally and bring them up to the light and love that is their right.

I’ve shared the answer to why for me; what about you?  What’s your answer?  Do you think I’m full of sh*t?  Tell me.  If what I’ve said resonates with you, share my post, or leave a comment.

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Spiritual Beings, Part 2

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Yesterday I mentioned my faith journey in part 1. Living up in New England, you can imagine how hard it was to find community, since covens are not my thing. My community became almost totally online (save a couple friends, when we could occasionally get together).

In one group, there was a person who was very active in the CUUPs (Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans) community. I was interested in getting involved locally, but thought that the closest UU church was over an hour away…too far to be practical. Or so I thought.

During my second marriage, I was usually online as much as possible to be in contact with all my friends. Then I had Miss M, and was diagnosed with PPD (postpartum depression). I think it was a misdiagnosis now…I was dealing with all the mental and emotional abuse from ex #2, and struggling with the transition from working full time to being a SAHM. Anyway….I started going to a local PPD group, and it was through friends I made there that I eventually found the faith community I am now a part of in the next town over. Being active in the church I found has enriched my life, challenged me, and helped give my life meaning. (Of course my parents came to one service a couple years ago, and said never again.)

I welcome your thoughts and comments (as long as they are respectful)! Tomorrow I’ll be telling you my thoughts on a personal spiritual path….one of connection with your higher power.

Spiritual Beings, Part 1

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I heard this quote for the first time many years ago…..it seems like a lifetime, but only maybe 15 or so years.  I always wondered who had said it, as there was never credit given.  Turns out it was French Jesuit priest, also a paleontologist and a philosopher by the name of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.  Seems a good place to start our discussion on spiritual self care.

There are those who deny any spirituality in their lives.  Thats not who this post is for.  Its more for people who, like me, are sure that there is something more to life.

We all LONG for connection. Some find it in church. Others in nature. Others in helping those less fortunate. Still others in family, or a network of close friends.

It doesn’t really matter where we find it; our lives are the richer for it.

A little about me; I grew up in a Southern Baptist household. Dad was a deacon, for many years head of the deacons, and moms always heavily involved as well. Twice on Sundays and every Wednesday night we were there. Often we were one of the first families there and the last to leave. OF course I did as was expected of me…I was baptized when I was 7. I tried to fit in the mold….but it was always hollow for me.

Fast forward to my head injury…I can’t deny divine intervention there. The speed and magnitude of my recovery left little doubt of the existence of a higher being. I was only 17 at the time, and I accepted more fully my church’s teachings. Within a few years though, I realized it wasn’t enough. I was in denial and pushed myself harder into it, only to feel emptier.

By this time I was engaged to ex #1, who was catholic and heavily involved in the music ministry of his church. I had been singing the folk mass with him for several months already, so I decided that for family unity I would become a catholic. I did that for a few years, then the church did some not nice things to us, and we stopped going.

It was my ex who introduced me to paganism in searching for a new connection. At first my Southern Baptist upbringing was like “EWWW! NEVER!!!” Then after a while I started reading the book he had bought….and it was like going home.

Tomorrow I’ll continue the story, and continue talking about spiritual community. I welcome your thoughts and comments…as long as they’re respectful. We all have the right to our beliefs. If you like any of my posts, feel free to share them!