This blog is a little heart rendering, so I am warning you ahead of time. It might be the one you need, and it might be the one you want to avoid.
I thought I knew what grief is all about. My mom died from cancer when I was in my 30’s. I was one of the primary caregivers the last three months of her life. It was a wonderful gift to be able to care for her as she made her transition. I thought I was ready, but I don’t think that anyone can ever be ready to lose a parent.
About a year after her death a lot of secrets came out of her closet. It was probably the hardest year of my life, even harder than losing her. It ripped that window of grief wide open. I thought that I had made it through the grief process. I was wrong. I had to then process the anger of what she had hidden. The anger of not being able to talk it through with her , so she could explain it all.
Eighteen years later I lost my 19 year old nephew when he was murdered. Starting this blog was how I started processing the loss not only of him, but what we all lost in relationship to our sister.
Nine years later I lost my birth father and had to process the grief of not just losing him, but losing the opportunity to have the kind of relationship I always wanted, but he wasn’t able to provide.
The following year I lost what I call my bonus dad. He had a long journey of heart disease that slowly took away his health. His was probably the easist death to process, because in the 15 yrs he lived with us, he had cleaned up what needed to be cleaned up with me.
I thought that with all of these losses, I knew what the grief process was all about. I had experienced it many times. I understood the grief stages. More importantly I knew I would survive. I thought, “I know how to do this”. Then a few months ago, my three year old grandson was killed in an accident. I now know grief in a totally unique way.
This journey I now understand is not only individual to the person, it is individual to what has been lost. The loss of someone so young rips apart your heart. Then experiencing the loss through your own child, as you witness his struggle to find his way through the grief process, turns your heart to ashes.
“You will lose someone you can’t live without and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly – that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with a limp.” – Anne Lamott
The truth is that grief for every person is a solitary journey. I can’t know how great my son’s pain is. I can’t understand the anger and depression that he is currently working through. I have no real idea of how to help. I struggle for the right words to say, and even if I feel I have found them, I struggle to know the timing of when to say them.
I also know from my own history of grief that just showing up and giving a hug can get someone through one more day of loss. What tends to happen with loss, is that at first everyone is there to support you. But time moves on for all of those dear friends and family members. They have processed the loss. They have moved on with living life, because that is what life does, it goes on.
When you have a loss that happens too soon, that feels too much to bear, your time line moves much slower. So it becomes a solitary journey. No one but you knows how great the hurt is. No one but you can know the gaping hole left in your life, especially when that someone is your little boy. And no one but you can mourn the silence, that was once filled with laughter as he ran around your house chasing the dog. It is the nature of love and of death to touch every person in a totally unique way.
“You’re under no obligation to be the person you were before life flattened you. You’re just not. Trust yourself to navigate this part of the journey.” Stephenie Zamora
Grief is not a journey in which you just push yourself through the stages and arrive at the end. There is no pushing through. What there is at the end is acceptance. You absorb it deep inside and it lives forever in your broken heart. Like a deep cut, it eventually scabs over. It is a healing process, where you pick at the scab and it bleeds and produces a new scab, over and over. Until one day you are picking at the scab and it just falls off. It leaves a scar that fades with time, but never completely goes away.
Grief never ends, but it changes. It is a passage, not a place to stay. Not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith, but the price of love. If you find yourself stuck in stage for a long time, it is time to seek a qualified therapist that can help you unblock the dam that has been created. If you find your friends and family are worried about you; if you find yourself putting on the fake smile and working hard to create the impression you have moved on (when you haven’t), it’s time to seek counseling.
“Grieving is a process. There’s a process of the shock, the anger, and then coping with the situation. You have to experience all of those levels to move forward, and sometimes you need help in that” Angela A Bridges
5 Facts about the stages of grief
“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in the hallow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.” favin.com
3 things to know about the denial stage of grief
“A thousand moments I had just taken for granted…, mostly because I assumed there would be a thousand more.” Morgan Matson
Anger – You may feel as though the whole world seems to be conspiring against you. You are mad at everyone, especially God. You feel as though you are walking a road to your own death, burning in the fires of your devasting anger. I think this quote describes perfectly why there is so much anger. You’ve lost all of those future moments.
“In grief, depression is a way for nature to keep us protected by shutting down the nervious system so that we can adapt to something we feel we cannot handle…, as difficult as it is to endure, depression has elements that can be helpful in grief. It slows us down and allows us to take real stock of the loss…, Allow the sadness and emptiness to cleanse you and help you to explore your loss in its entirety. when you allow yourself to experience depression, it will leave as soon as it has served its purpose in your loss.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Depression – I think it has to do with the hole in your heart. It is consumed with emptiness. You can’t fill it up or sew it back together. So you mask it. You deny to others that you are continuing to grieve. You’ve run out of tears, out of anger, out of the ability to cope. So the quiet emptiness just grows until it consumes you. You’ve shut off the support system and isolated yourself behind the mask. You are alone and feel like you will be alone until you die. You feel that your family and the world would be better off without you. You think that you are all alone in your grief, that everyone else has moved on. It’s depression that is controlling the mindtalk and thinking. When the grief turns into this kind of depression it’s time to take off the mask and seek help. Even though you think you can’t escape the sadness, therapy will help you see past the depression.
At the end of the grief process, it is not so much a moving on, as a moving forward – as you bring your loved one along in your heart and your very breath. They are a part of you now and always. You move forward with them. You continue to engage in life because you’ve become inspired by this love. That is my wish for all of us. To reach that space where we are able to continue our journey with a peaceful heart. With the good memories that make us laugh and smile. With that inner knowing that your loved one is still in your heart. The connection is still there, it is still real, it has just changed form.
Sometimes simple things are the hardest concepts to put into action. Anne Frank is quoted as saying, “Whoever is happy will make others happy too”. Such a simple yet profound statement coming from a young girl who was in hiding from the Nazi’s makes it even more impactful.
I really love the days when I wake up happy and feeling like this is going to be a good day. For me, it’s kind of a bouncy energy, light and airy. Have you ever felt that way? I’ve even used the analogy of the energy being like a balloon. I feel like I am filled with a bouyancy that will allow me to fly through my day with no obstacles. Then someone comes along, who is filled with negative energy. Their balloon doesn’t lift up, but instead drags on the ground. The negative energy is contagious and loves to come along and pop others balloons. Just a simple statement coming from someone shooting out negative energy can steal your happiness in a moment.
About 10 years ago I received a promotion that I had been working for all of my life. When my then boss called me into his office and delivered the good news it came with a caveat. He said, “It doesn’t come with a raise and it doesn’t really mean anything. Title’s are pretty worthless.” Talk about taking out all of the positive energy in the room – he gave me this beautiful balloon and then immediately popped it. He made me feel like what I had worked so hard for all of those years was meaningless. The goals I had set from highschool for myself were meaningless.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading around how managers are becoming more like coaches than bosses. This past year, I received my “Inner MBA” which is a MBA course from NYU in being a Compassionate, Resilient, Mindfulness Leader. I am also getting certified in Positive Psychology. I think that both of these courses have really expanded my view of how one negative person in your personal life, or work life – can negatively impact not only your relationship with them, it also muddies the water of every other relationship you have.
“Neurologist claim that every time you resist acting on anger, you’re actually rewiring your brain to be calmer and more loving.” – Positive Energy Quotes
Everything that I read about the energy field that we have as humans, reflects that it is like a magnet and positive attracts to positive. One of my favorite philosopher’s is Jim Rohn. He had this way of making everything so simple. When I lived outside of Los Angeles, I would listen to his recordings on my commute back and forth to work. California drivers can be pretty aggressive. Jim talked about how you can shift your mind to not allow others to pop your balloon of positive energy.
So when someone cut me off or was driving aggressively, I started to practice what he talked about. My immediate first reaction was anger. I wasn’t an aggressive driver, so I wouldn’t try to cut off the bad driver in revenge. But it would pop my balloon of positive energy and drain it completely dry. So part of my practice was to catch myself letting someone else drain my positive energy. It took a few weeks, but I got to the space where I was able to be grateful they were in front of my car – their cutting me off was saving me being rear-ended by them when they couldn’t stop fast enough. I would actually say out loud, “thank you for getting in front of me”.
You can apply this to anyone in your work or home life that constantly has negative energy. In your mind you can practice the Jedi mind trick – “I’m not the person you are looking for. You can go about your business. Move along, nothing to see here”. Send them on their way, being happy that you were able to keep your balloon flying high.
Just as negative energy is catching, so is positive energy. Have you ever been in a creative space with others and seen this happen? It’s like the idea that one person generates takes on a life of its own and touches each person in the group. They take the idea and reshape it. Expand it. Evolve it into the perfect thing that is needed to move the project forward. It is a Eureka!! moment. It’s like everyone in the group is holding on to a large number of balloons of positive kenetic energy.
“Vibrate so high that toxic people if your life fall back, because they no longer know how to approach you.” – Unknown
When you get into this space of positive energy generating a field around you, those people in your work and home life just stop coming around. They don’t understand you. They even have a term for you, being a “Pollyana”. Pollyana had a game she called the glad game. So take it as a complement and keep shining out your brilliant light of positivity.
“The game was just to find something about which to be glad about, no matter what it was…, you see, when you’re hunting for the good things, you sorta forget about the other kind.” Pollyana
They can’t relate to someone who refuses to enter into the drama that they create. You never have to get rid of those relationships. When you keep that positive field generating around you, they will stay away themselves. It is sort of like a repellant, and they consciously don’t even realize that they are avoiding you. You just have to stay close to those with a positive energy, people and places that make you feel glad to be alive.
Like most things that I talk about, this is all about doing the work on the inside. You have choices every moment in your life to let someone into your energetic space or keep them out. It takes work and time to learn, but it is so worth it. Instead of having your mood reflect everyone else’s day, it can begin to reflect what you have personally chosen to accept. When someone comes into your space with a low frequency, negative vibration, choose to energetically push them on their way. “This is not the droid you are looking for. Move along.”
Last April I went to my birth fathers funeral. He died of complications of dementia. I hadn’t seen him in years. My parents divorced when I was four years old. Despite all of my wanting him to be a part of my life, it just never happened. Many reasons, excuses and stories – too many to go into here. What I wanted to talk about from my own experience is the feelings of being a child of divorced parents.
For me it was very painful because I blamed myself for the divorce. I thought it was something I did. Since 50% of marriages end in divorce, there are probably a lot of people in the world who grew up like me, thinking that they somehow caused the divorce. I didn’t realize that I believed this until I had kids of my own. Lots of self analyzing and trying to figure out where my self sabotage patterns originated revealed it to me. My adult self knows that it isn’t true.
My dad like a lot of fathers remarried another women with children. They became his family as is right. Unfortunately, my stepmother didn’t return the favor and the few times I went to their home it was clear I wasn’t wanted. It was clear as a child, as a teenager and as an adult when I visited with what should have been her grand-kids, we were not welcome.
So my dad and I became completely estranged. It broke my heart. For me at least, I always wanted my dad to say he wanted me in his life, and then to try to make that happen. I had the fantasy that once I was an adult and he didn’t have to deal with my mom, that he would show up and be the dad I always wanted. I didn’t realize how much of that fantasy was lying beneath the surface until I found out he had died.
Wintercearig is a Norwegian word meaning winter-sorrowful describing that feeling of deep sadness comparable to the cold of winter. I think that the death of the fantasy was harder than his physical death. I solaced my heart that he had dementia, so there were probably close to 10 years that he didn’t remember me. Grief is a slippery animal though. It comes and goes when you least expect it. I know he wasn’t a happy man, and I know how hard my mother could be for him. I just wish it could have been different, and that they could have put aside their own pain for my sake.
In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer – Albert Camus
I am working my way through winter of my loss. Part of that process is to pull out the gold from the dross. To find the invincible summer in my story. To make Lemonade from the lemons. My disappointments in my childhood and the letting go of the fantasy as an adult are part of who I am. I can talk to this with total compassion, because I have been there. I learned to appreciate the good qualities that my mom and dad had, and let go of the expectations that they would ever become who I wanted them to be.
To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake it is necessary to stand out in the cold – Aristotle
Pain has a lot of lessons to teach us. I remember years ago I was talking with one of my sister in-laws about forgiveness. She stated that if her husband ever had an affair that she would never forgive him. That she would divorce him. I told her that with big decisions in life, we think we know what we would do. But until that moment arrives it is all speculation. The reason for that is how connected everything is.
It isn’t just that someone had an affair. You would have to look at all of the circumstances around what happened. There are so many things in your relationship with your partner, what is going on at work, with the larger family – what are the stresses of life that weighed in on someone so that would do something that would destroy their life? When something this devasting happens and you look at all of the possible choices you have to face, many times we do not do what we thought we would. You have to stand out in the cold, and really look at every single crystal of the snowflake to make a decision. Like the snowflake, the breaking of the marriage bond is different for every couple with no two alike.
The future lies before you, like a field of fallen snow; Be careful how you tread it, for every step will show – Unknown
My experiences in life gave me a little bit of a soapbox in regards to fathers who don’t see their children. The damage it causes those children affects them every day of their life. Many of us don’t realize how much, until something happens that brings it to the surface. I had thought I had given up the fantasy of my dad showing up on my doorstep one day, saying “I love you and I want you to be part of my life”. It was still apparently a running program in the background, taking up energy.
So if you are divorced and you aren’t connected with your children, make the sacrifice to do whatever it takes to be a part of their lives. Just show up, with no excuses. With no blame, except to say “I’m sorry”. It may take awhile before they trust you again, because even if you didn’t mean to, you broke their heart. But if you put in the effort and keep trying, eventually they will open the door.
And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. that’s what this storm’s all about – Haruki Murakami
When I am processing pain, grief, sadness, I write. This is something I am still working on, but I wanted to share the work in progress.
Maybe you are like me, a daughter or son, who just wanted to be told that they were loved, that they weren’t a mistake that could just be thrown away, that they were proud of who you became.
Maybe like me you just wanted them to show up at your door and say Hi.
A note for my Dad
I learned to say goodbye at an early age
To hear “love you, see you soon” knowing in my heart it wasn’t true
Looking out of the back window of the car as mom drove me away
Silent tears wishing I was still with you
It’s a broken road my mom and dad have made
I’m tired of feeling disloyal loving you both, being torn between you two,
I feel my frailness crumble as you both pull me apart
My heart is torn, broken with your hammers beating it to pieces
Years go by with a few hours here and there
Visits so short they can’t even be remembered
How many times I reached out to you
Only to hear the deafening silence.
The sharp thunder of glaciers breaking up and falling into the ocean
The cold became the color of blinding whiteness
I waited for the your presence, the phone call, the letter, anything
To hear you say “I’m here and I love you.”
Deep sadness covers me like a layer of snow
Leaving my heart cold, pain frozen into arctic ice
Daddy why did you die and leave me alone
Never to hear those words, “love you, see you soon” fulfilled?
I think I will miss you forever, since we never got to say goodbye
Wishing you had been a constant presence in my life didn’t make it happen.
The gift you gave me in passing me by in forgetfulness,
Is seen daily in my being a part of my own children’s lives
Shel Silverstein is one of my favorite poets. My kids all read his poems when they were little. This is one of his poems that I wanted to share, because it is now part of my life with my dad.
The Little Boy and Old Man
“Said the little boy, Sometimes I drop my spoon. Said the little old man, I do that too.
The little boy whispered, I wet my pants. I do too, laughed the old man.
Said the little boy, I often cry. The old man nodded, So do I.
But worst of all, said the boy, it seems Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me. And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand. I know what you mean, said the little old man.”
Recently I crossed over from being a daughter to being a parent for my father. Some changes in your life, tear your heart into tiny pieces. 22 years ago, my mom went on to her next adventure. She passed away at 56 yrs old from cancer. I stayed with her and took care of her the last three months of her life. My aunt and my mom’s best friend stayed with me as she needed around the clock care. With them by my side, while I had hard moments, it wasn’t traumatic. I miss her so much with each new family event. My kids graduating high school. college, marriages, and of course grandchildren and now great grandchildren. She missed it all.
It was a family understanding that when my dad retired from work that he would move in with us. And because he had poor heart health, having a triple bypass, he actually retired a little early with disability and came to live with us. At first he had a motorhome that he lived in, so he could keep his independence. We had a motorhome pad, with electricity hook ups and everything. Then came the day he had to move inside, because his health was deteriorating.
Then we purchased a hospital bed because he was having problems breathing at night, with a lot of coughing and this would allow him to raise it up enough that he could comfortably sleep. Then more ups and downs. He acquired a walker because he couldn’t walk more than a few steps before he was out of breath. Then back and forth to hospitals, ER’s, tests and more tests. Changes of medication when they damaged his kidneys. Changes of medications to help his heart failures.
My dad has a phobia around hospitals. An intense fear. He refuses to go, wanting to stabilize himself with drugs at home. So that is very trying as it usually means intense discussions with both me and his cardiac specialists. The drugs have started causing kidney damage and they have to dial back the dosage. I feel horrible that he becomes defeated. He sits in his chair and watches TV all day and I know he has feelings of depression and being defeated by his body. Sometimes I feel like the worst daughter in the world, as I crossed over into being his parent. I am his advocate when he doesn’t or just can’t understand what is happening and why.
There is a moral task of caregiving, and that involves just being there, being with that person and being committed. When there is nothing that can be done, we have to be able to say, “Look, I’m with your in this experience. Right through to the end of it.
Dr. Arthur Kleinman.
Why do I do this? About 52 years ago, my dad married my mom. She had six little girls, all eighteen months apart with a set of twins. My dad has a lot of faults, like all of us. But he also has some amazing qualities. One is that when they got married, we were his daughters. Not his step-daughters. His daughters. Not once in 50 years has the word “step” exited his mouth. I think that many who read this will not understand how important that is to a child. For me, putting the word “step” before me, makes me less than his own child. I know how lucky we were that we were never step children. When my mom died, 22 years ago, we were still his daughters. No words can express this kind of love. Believe me, if you met some of my sisters, you would understand how amazing it is, that he still calls them his daughters – lol.
Of all the lessons I’ve learned through my years of caregiving, the most important is to keep the love connection going. Just tell them that you love them again and again and again. You will never say it too much, ever.
It is scary to cross this transition from daughter to parent. It was different from my mom, as I never felt I became her parent, I remained in caregiving mode. It is scary to see that in the near future, he will go on to his next great adventure, leaving all of us behind him. We are both scared right now. What happens when we let our fears get ahold of our mouths? We shout, we get angry, we say hurtful things. But it is just us being scared. Caregiving is hard, but it is also so rewarding. I can remember when I was taking care of my mom, that some of my sisters were absent because it was too hard to watch the lung cancer take away her ability to care for herself. I learned what the true meaning of words like grace, dignity, love, sacrifice really were deep under the surface of the meanings we usually give them. I am again reminded of it now everyday.
To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors.
I wanted to share my story because I know that many of you are doing the same as I am. Day by day watching a loved one fade away. Sometimes with a fight and sometimes with a whimper. It is hard to watch, and harder to experience it happening to oneself. I wanted to say how while all of our experiences are different because of the people involved and other circumstances, I know how hard this is. I know how fulfilling it is one moment and utterly draining the next. But this is still a gift. A gift of grace, love, and all the other virtues.
Caregiving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know was even possible.
You are not alone, even when it feels like it. If you feel overwhelmed, please join a caregiver group, whether online or up front and personal. It helps to share what is going on and they can help you with getting assistance when it is needed. Believe me, it is hard to find help when you don’t even know where to start and what is available. Even the strongest person can have the weakest day of their life and having access to someone who knows and understands what is happening is priceless.
Remember the power of your angels. Remember to be guided by love and take strength in the good memories, when those you care for are having a bad day and giving you waking nightmares. And remember the grace of how those things we can’t change, can change us.
When we are in a state of severe loss, of pain and grief and a darkness of the soul – that is when life is at its hardest to bear.
But if we just take a deep breath, followed by more deep breaths we can walk into the middle of the chaos. It’s messy in the middle, but in the middle we have the space to start working through the story of our loss. And as we walk through the story, we eventually reach the end.
The end is the place of new beginnings. Our life has been forever changed by our tragedy. We must remember in this space of pain, grief, and loss that the new beginning will be waiting for us.
The sun will shine. The stars will shine brightly. New people will come into our lives. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, if we only will open once again to breathe in the love.
As children you believe that your parents are invincible, indestructible, and that they will never let you down. Then the unthinkable happens and they do.
Then when you are older and you think wiser, you fall in love for the first time. As you view this person through rose colored glasses, seeing no faults, but only the perfection of your love, you place them upon a pedestal thinking that they will never hurt you. Then the unimaginable happens, and they break your heart.
It isn’t your parents or your best friend, or your first love that let you down. It is your own expectations, which were unreal. You are broken hearted by your own projections of who who you wanted them to be, which was something that no one could live up to.
“The strongest source of empowerment is that which we find within ourselves” – Brett Blumenthal
What you discover is that it is unfair to put someone else in charge of your life. It is unfair, because each person is responsible for themselves. Handing it off to someone else will only hurt both them and you. When you build your house upon the foundation of your soul, and take it’s direction, then you can add those you love to connect to your souls home. You add your spiritual beliefs, your family, your friends, your career – everything you want in life, but the empowerment that comes from that foundation is what makes everything run.
“I came to believe that my identity goes beyond the outer roles I play. It transcends the ego. I came to understand that there is an Authentic “I” within – an “I AM”, or divine spark within the soul” – Sue Monk Kid
The roles you play, being a wife or husband; being a mother or father; being a son or daughter, being a grandmother or a grandchild – those roles can make you happy, but they are not the source of the happiness. The source of the happiness comes from within. Otherwise you are burdening your happiness on the expectations of those roles, burdening your loved ones unfairly with the responsibility of making you happy. That is dooming yourself to be the perpetrator of a broken family filled with trauma and drama.
“We simply can’t control what comes out of people’s mouths. However, we can control how we feel about what they say” – Scarlett Jones
The same thing is true for your friends and those you work with. You can’t base your happiness on what those around you say, or do. Or don’t say or do. Have you ever worked really hard on a project at work, and no one noticed your brilliance? Were you trying to be brilliant to have others laud you, or because you loved exceeding the expectations of others? I love it when someone notices I did a good job, beat the deadline, came in under budget, etc. . , but it needs to be for your own empowerment that you feel good about it. Then if someone else does notice, that is whipping cream on the dessert, good when it is there, but not necessary to be enjoyed as a great dessert.
Have you ever planned a trip with the girlfriends and then were disappointed when others didn’t contribute and left all of the work for you to do? What really caused the unhappiness?
Miscommunication, unrealistic expectations of others? What about if you come from the viewpoint of creating an experience of joy? Being authentic enough to ask for help when you need it, without expectation of how the help shows up. Creating from that place is a gift to yourself and to those others who will be there. It takes all of the drama out of the experience, leaving a space of “WOW” for what is created. It makes you vulnerable to the beauty of what happens next.
Using the analogy of the butterfly. The caterpillar is vulnerable in creating the chrysalis, not knowing how it will all turn out. Knowing that the transformation is necessary, doesn’t make it any easier to do it. The butterfly is vulnerable as it fights to get released from the chrysalis, dry its wings so that it can take flight. It is a beautiful creation that can’t see the brilliance of the colors and designs of its own wings. Putting your own human thoughts into the analogy, this transformation into something new would be terrifying.
“Your authentic self is the source of your brilliance. It’s the universal you – the person you always thought you could be before your fears and beliefs about what is really possible reined in this brilliant reality. Getting in touch with the source of your brilliance and staying connected will make you shine every day. Tapping into your intuition is how you will discover your authentic self and your true brilliance” – Angela Artemis
There is no manual provided when you tap into intuition and transform your life from the ego driven life, to the life of being self-empowered and fueled from within. It is a journey of self-discovery. It is scary and terrifying because you will almost certainly fall and have to get back up many times.
You also have the joy and satisfaction of knowing that it is your own magnificent journey. There is a tunnel that you drive through when you travel to Yosemite National Park. On one side of the tunnel you have beautiful mountains and trees and you think this is what the park is about. Then as you emerge through the tunnel it is like arriving on another planet. While what you saw before the tunnel was beautiful scenery, it pales in comparison to the vista that opens before you as you exit the tunnel.
“If you push through that feeling of being scared, that feeling of taking risk, really amazing things can happen” – Marissa Mayer
Discovering your true authentic self and living from that place is like coming out of that tunnel. You thought you were happy before, but it pales in comparison to the true source of happiness when you live from within. Every day you connect, lose connection and reconnect to that brilliance of your soul’s intuition. You learn to believe in your future self. It is like the beauty of that butterfly taking flight. Miracles take place every day. Tap your true potential. Spread those wings and fly.
The first Saturday of every month we get together on Zoom to talk about our challenges, to encourage each other, and provide inspiration to continue on our individual journeys. As we share the lessons of each one’s individual journey, resilience is grown for everyone. Join us for the next conversation and become even more inspired to reach out and pull your dreams into reality.
Fear is like the Wizard of Oz, projecting itself onto the screen, frightening you with how powerful it is. When in reality, it is a small man behind the curtain. Don’t be afraid to move the curtain and expose the fear. Finding the blessing in the fear, is the opportunity to open your heart and mind to the idea of change and reinvention.
“Sometimes painful things can teach us lessons that we didn’t think we needed to know” – Unknown
Lessons show up in painful situations. Sometimes you consciously choose to change, because you have taken the time to realize something isn’t working and why. Other times you stumble upon ( notice the word stumble) an opportunity.
Sometimes you trip over something and you catch yourself before the fall, hopping across the floor as you try to regain your balance. Other times you can trip over something that face plants you on the ground, and has you digging rocks off your skin. Either way there are still choices to make.
“One of the happiest moments in life is when you find the courage to let go of what you can’t change” – Unknown
“No matter who tries to teach you lessons about life, you won’t understand it until you go through it on your own” – Unknown
The classic opportunities for reinvention tend to come from two things. With a heartbreak such as; losing a job, ending a relationship, the death of a close friend or family member. The classic “good but scary” opportunities for reinvention are; you go away to college, you move to a new town with a new job, you get the really big promotion such as those COO, CEO, CFO types of promotions or the best of all, you decide to be an entrepreneur and your own boss.
In todays world, your fill in the blank might be related to the changing world from Covid-19. Home schooling your children, working from home, being furloughed or laid off and working through the nightmare of red tape to get your unemployment. Maybe you are self employed and trying to get PPE. Discovering how little you know or have in common with your significant other as you have spent 24/7 with them for months.
“There are things in life we don’t want to happen, but have to accept; things we don’t want to know but have to learn; and people we can’t live without, but have to let go” – Unknown
In today’s world lots of businesses are rethinking how they do business. They are trying to see the gaps and create opportunities to bridge them. Bringing an idea to life is hard work. You can expect it to cost you more personally, financially, and maybe even reputational than you thought it would. There are sleepless nights. You become a master of second guessing your choice to make this move.
“Disney taught me to never stopbelieving in my dreamsHarry Potter taught me that love and friendshipdominates all kind of evilNarnia taught me that we must all grown up& leave our childhood behind,but must never forget itPercy Jackson taught me that there’sa hero in every one of usGlee taught me that no matter how different we are,there’s always that one thing we have in common” – Unknown
But to be truly committed you need to “burn the boats”. This expression is a “point of no return”, where you have destroyed all other choices, and you are left with no options but the intention you started with. It comes from a famous incident when a Spanish Explorer landing in Mexico ordered their ships to be burned. They either would conquer the country or be killed, because they had no way to return home.
So take away plan b, eliminate the lifeline. Go all out for what you are passionate about. Follow your bliss. Look at what is working and not working. What you love to do and hate to do. The key is to get immersed in what you are passionate about and hire help for the rest.
“Each day I am thankful for nights that turned into mornings, friends that turned into family, dreams that turned into reality, and likes that turned into loves” – Unknown
And remember the three most important words in your fear busting vocabulary: Improvise, Adapt, Overcome.
The first Saturday of every month we get together on Zoom to talk about our challenges, to encourage each other, and provide inspiration to continue on our individual journeys. Join us for the next conversation and become even more inspired to reach out and pull your dreams into reality.
“Much of the pain in life comes from having a life plan that you’ve fallen in love with, and when it doesn’t work out, you become angry that you now have to pursue a new life plan. If you want to tame your inner demons, you must not become too attached to any particular life plan, and remain open to there being an even better happier life plan” – Karen Salmansohn
Have you read Brene’ Brown’s book, Rising Strong? I highly recommend it. In chapter six she talks about boundaries, integrity and generosity. She has this story about saying yes to a speaking job that she didn’t really want to do, but said yes to because they made her feel bad, like she was now too good to speak for them, now that she was famous.
“There will always be a reason why you meet people. Either you need them to change your life or you’re the one that will change theirs” – Unknown
Then it turned out that she had to share a room with another speaker who was a stranger. Since she already wasn’t wanting to do any of this, of course the person she was sharing a room with drove her crazy. It seemed like everything she did was specifically designed to upset her.
Now here is where the learning lesson was pretty interesting. When she got back home she went to her therapist about the whole thing because she was in such a rage about it. And the therapist said, “what if she (the other speaker) was doing that best that she could?”
“When you are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves” – Viktor E. Frankl
The cover photo is how I see this quote from Wayne Dyer. You have the two faces of the inner mind. – the inner sad face being the judge, with an slender thread of being self righteousness woven into it (you/they are not good enough) and the other face being resentment, (who do you/they think you are?). Neither one of those attitudes will bring you happiness with yourself or others.
“The soul usually knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind” – Unknown
Yet there is a middle ground, the ground of “I am/they are doing the best that I/they can”.
These are the two stories in the chapter that I loved and totally identified with – this first story was about my expectations of others. I had to learn not to expect others to do the same speed and quality of work that I do. All it did was frustrate me and make me angry, (they aren’t pulling their weight) and I was actually making them feel like they couldn’t do their job correctly, which was never my intention. The lesson from Brene’s book was: “Crap” as one man said, “if he’s really doing the best he can, I’m a total jerk, and I need to stop harassing him and start helping him.”
“Train your mind to see the good in everything. Positivity is a choice. The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts” – Marcandangel
The other story was something I came to acknowledge years ago with my own mom. She was one of those women who didn’t know how to deal with children and probably shouldn’t have had any – but she was a great best friend once you were of high school age or older. I just accepted my mom for who she was, the wonderful qualities she had, and stopped trying to force her to be the “TV mom with the perfect home”.
From Brene’ Brown’s book, one woman’s realization with her own mom issues – “if this was true and my mother was doing the best she can, I would be grief stricken. I’d rather be angry than sad, so it’s easier to believe she’s letting me down on purpose, than to grieve the fact that my mother is never going to be who I need her to be.”
It really is finding a way to change the way you look at something. Shifting your perspective, shifts the meanings you are assuming and assigning to the situation. It changes everything. When you come from the space that everyone is doing the best they can, there will be times when you get taken advantage of. But you can’t let that tiny minority rule your life.
“Smile despite the circumstances and laugh throughout the pain. Life is full of hardships but it is how you deal with them that will, in the end, define you” – Unknown
What I know is that my life is better when I hold out the space for you to be the best that you can be. Somehow 99.99% of the people show up as the best that they can be, when I am in that space.
“When we know better, we do better” – Maya Angelou
Sometimes you need to take a break from everyone and spend time alone, to experience, appreciate, and love yourself.
– Robert Tew
I have a confession to make. Years ago, when all four of my children were little, I used to hide in the bathroom. Sometimes the mommy, mommy, was just too much. I didn’t want to referee who had what toy, who pushed who, or be the mean mom making them clean up their room. I was tired out from working all day, coming home and fixing dinner, making sure their homework was done, that they all had their baths, and had clean clothes for the next day at school. I just needed five minutes alone.
Moms are so worried about everything – and everyone – else, they often forget about time and how their needs are just as important.
– Shawn Fink
If your kids are like mine were, you didn’t get the five minutes alone until they were in bed, and after the 15th excuse to get out of bed had finally fallen asleep. By then of course, you are too tired to even think and you are falling asleep on the couch. Just a few minutes of peace. My husband was a wonderful man who in the summer would take the kids on an overnight camping trip. For one whole weekend, I would stay at home alone. I slept in. I read a book. I would wallow in alone time and recharge. It was a mini mommy vacation. When they came home Sunday night all excited about fishing, I was a whole new mom, ready to listen to every story and adventure.
If you really love someone, there’s no such thing as not having enough time for them.
For some reason now that the kids are all grown and out on their own, I have filled my life up with so many things to do, that I am noticing that I have let the habit of alone time disappear. I am following my own advice and putting this time down on the calendar. It is really important to carve out the space to be able to soul search. To recover energetically. To be able to do some deep thinking, following the rabbit down the rabbit hole. To just be without any agenda or schedule or purpose. It is a part of having a healthy relationship with yourself. It is a part of loving yourself, and making time for just you.
I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.
– Olivia Wilde
So when you carve out some alone time, what do you do with it? How much time each month do you carve out to play? Try something new that you have never done before? If you were to go exploring in your neighborhood or your town, what would you do? When was the last time that you sat down and created something just for fun? Painting, drawing, sculpting, gardening, singing, dancing, playing an instrument, writing a story or a poem, sewing – whatever direction your creative juices take you.
Alone time is when I distance myself from the voices of the world so I can hear my own.
I love to garden, to crochet, and I have always wanted to play the piano. I want to go on a hot air balloon ride. I want to travel to Scotland and see where my dads family came from. I want to explore medieval castles all over Europe. I have been neglecting this part of my life because of not balancing myself between my day job, taking care of my dad and his health issues, helping my granddaughter achieve her dreams of being an actor and the amount of time it takes to promote and build LemonadeMakers. But what I know from life experience and lots of years of education, is that it is just as important to take the time to recharge my batteries. So like the sailor in the ship, I need to make a course adjustment, to make sure that I don’t keep losing myself in life’s often conflicting priorities.
She loves the smell of coffees, bloomed roses and new beginnings
– Sonia Azalia
So remember to take those moments, or those weekends to smell the roses. You will come back reenergized and ready to take on whatever life is getting ready to throw in your direction.
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“Life is meaningless only if we allow it to be. Each of us has the power to give life meaning, to make our bodies and our words into instruments of love and hope.” – Tom Head
When you approach each moment with fresh eyes and an open heart, you are no longer defined by your past pain or your fears for the future. This is because you are not using that past pain or fear, as a filter to color every future experience. Just because someone broke your heart doesn’t mean that everyone else will do so. It doesn’t mean that you can’t trust yourself with anyone ever again. Everything you experience is always a different experience. You are not the same person you were prior to that experience. The person you are currently having an experience with is not that person who hurt you.
Sometimes you just need to realize that just because you have had a bad day, doesn’t mean you have a bad life. Just breathe, let it go. Begin again.
“Magic is believing in yourself. If you can do that, you can make anything happen” – Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe
Everything in life is temporary. Both the good things and the bad things. Nothing lasts forever, as moment by moment life changes you. Most of what you term a bad experience, was simply judged as being bad by you. You got a “D” or an “F” on an assignment. You could judge that as being a bad experience. Or it could be judged as a good experience because it served as a wake up call, to pay attention to your studies. Now you can graduate with honors and be successful in your chosen career.
Or it could even be the “stop” what you are doing call. The call that says this isn’t what you want to do with your life. That you need to stop going through the motions of making someone else happy. If you find yourself in the wrong fairy tale, either rewrite the story or leave it.
It could be the moment that you go after our dreams.
At a Hay House Event I attended, I enjoyed a seminar with Sonia Choquette. I have been a fan of her books for years. She is an intuitive spiritual teacher. She told the story of how her marriage ended a couple of years ago, a total surprise to her. She spoke about the falling apart, the recovery. Then he came back and wanted to make it work, and then he left her again. The second falling apart was not as bad. She spoke about what all she learned about herself. How much her daily practices saved her so much in recovery time.
It is funny about the good things being around the corner – you can look down the street, and you don’t see them. It is physically impossible to know what is around a corner. It is not until you walk around the corner that you see it. So the good thing surprises you just as much as the devastation does, because it catches you unaware.
“She believed in dreams all right, but she also believed in doing something about them…, When Prince Charming didn’t come along, she went over to the palace and got him. ” – Walt Disney
Even in the fairy tales you had to fight to get what you wanted. It wasn’t all stardust and lollipops. Bad things happened and had to be overcome. Many times just as you thought everything was going to end up perfect, another bad thing happened. You somehow think that life will just roll everything perfectly to your door, without any effort on your part. Or you think that if you just follow all the rules, life will repay you with what you want.
Life brings you lessons to build character. It opens many doors, but most of them you pass by because you are not conscious and paying attention. Then you complain, that your dreams are not happening, and they must not be true.
There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind” – C.S. Lewis
Nothing is safe and everything changes. So reach out and touch the dragonflies and butterfly’s as you take flight. Reach for the stars. Dance with the fairies. Howl at the moon. Be a shapeshifter. Life is a treasure hunt with a shifting map. Find the chocolate. Be happy, have fun, and enjoy the beauty of life..
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever” – Gandhi
The first Saturday of every month we get together on Zoom to talk about our challenges, to encourage each other, and provide inspiration to continue on our individual journeys. As we share the lessons of each one’s individual journey, resilience is grown for everyone. Join us for the next conversation and become even more inspired to reach out and pull your dreams into reality.
If you are unhappy with anything…, whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you’ll find that when you’re free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.
– Tina Turner
When you let go of whatever the negative thing is, you are not agreeing that the situation was acceptable. You are walking away because whatever is going on is not worth destroying you. You release the anger, the frustration of trying to get someone else to see your truth; or trying to fix something that isn’t your business to fix. You wall away, and you do not walk back and reclaim it, because someone promises that this time things will be different. You walk away, leaving that baggage on the ground, and you climb up onto that plane and you fly far, far away. Never settle.
You can’t reach for anything new, if your hands are still full of yesterday’s junk.
– Louise Smith
Regrets are heavy baggage. Whatever we walk away from or whatever we feel we have lost in our lives, usually have regrets attached to it. What we said or didn’t say, what we should have done or did do. Whatever didn’t turn out perfectly sits on the scale of our judgment against ourselves or others. Forgive both yourself and others, wipe the scale clean of all debris. Recycle those regrets, let go of the past, so that you can truly move on.
We are all responsible for the energy we have around us. Drama Queens can’t exist without an audience. Stop being one, and they will find someone else. This creates space in your life for the right kind of people. Those who see the real you, that you’ve buried deep within. They hold up the mirror to you, so that you can see your potential. The endless possibilities of who you really are. They believe in you, because they love who you are, not who they want you to be. These are once in a lifetime kinds of people. Find them and keep them in your life.
We all fit together to create this experience we call life. None of us can see the part we play or the way it all turns out. Maybe the miracles that we see are just the tip of the iceberg. And maybe we just don’t recognize the blessings that come as a result of terrible things.
– Making Faces, Amy Harmon.
When my granddaughter and I saw the movie “Passengers”, I thought that quote really is the story line of the movie.
A computer malfunction in the sleeping pod of the main male character happens and he gets woken up around 30 years into a flight of around 120 years. During first year he goes crazy being alone.
important encounters are planned by the souls long before the bodies see each other.
– Paulo Coelho
Then one day he finds a sleeping pod of a beautiful woman and starts obsessing about waking her up. Even though he knows he shouldn’t one day he does it. At first she thinks that like him, it was a computer malfunction. Then she discovers the truth, and her anger at what he has done to her life drives her crazy. Then a third person, a ship employee is awakened due to continuing computer malfunctions. They discover with his help that the ship is failing due to damage received from asteroids. The ship employee dies from health complications created by his pod leaving them to try and save the ship of over 5,000 fellow passengers and the crew.
In the process of doing this they almost die several times. They discover that their being together is the miracle and blessing of their being able to save everyone else. In saving them, they save themselves.
I entered the after-loss broken and shattered. It’s like I had this big bag of fragments I once called life and dumped them in the middle of this new world and said, “Here. this is all I’ve got left. What can I do with this?”
– Benjamin Allen
They come to peace with living out their lives together alone on the ship, knowing that they won’t reach their destination in their lifetime. She learned to let go of the baggage of what he did to her. He let go of the baggage of what he did. They realized that without everything that happened to them, the entire ship would have been destroyed. They let go of what they planned for their lives by taken this journey, and lived the journey they instead found with each other. They realized that blessings can come as a result of terrible things.
We all have some sort of emotional baggage in our lives. One bag is filled with things that people said to us, situations where our character was unfairly tarnished. This bag is waiting for apologies that will most likely never happen. Then there is this other bag of regrets where we lied to someone; promises we broke; things we said to others because our pain was so great that we needed to hurt someone else just as much as we were hurting. The items contained in the bags could be listed down long pages. They are not unique to us. What we have to come to realize, is that we need to let them go. All of them.
I always liked the story of Noah’s Ark and the idea of starting anew by rescuing the things you like and leaving the rest behind.
– Zach Braff
In order to release yourself of this baggage you need to enter sacred space. Go down into your heart and the soul of who you are. Keep what builds you up. Release everything negative. When you find yourself, and release what is not yours to keep, you make space for your life to transform once again. You start moving forward in your life once more. Reach for what is in front of you. When you know what you want next in life, you wake up excited about life. If you aren’t excited about your life, this is a sign that it is time to give yourself healing. Time to once again enter the chrysalis and transform your life.[lp-logic ids=”3473″ limit=1][lp-logic ids=”3473″ limit=1 use_content=1] Content to use [/lp-logic]
Have you ever had that really close friend? The kind that you can say anything to? You know, how when you are really, really mad at your boyfriend or spouse, and you just want to kill them – and you tell all to your best friend, and she says something like – where should we hide the body? “Dear Karma, I have a list of people you missed.” LOL. I love my girlfriends. They not only let me bleed out all of my frustration about what is currently wrong in my life, they jump right in with more wit and sarcasm. By the end of the conversation all is right in my world again. Humor can get you to the other side of almost any heartache.
We need people in our lives that will serve as sounding boards for us. They allow us to vent out what is wrong, so that we don’t bury it under deep levels of sarcasm. “Bestfriend, the one you can get mad at for only a short period because you have important stuff to tell them.” Unknown. When we don’t have a way to work through and release the hurtful things said or done to us, we tend to bury the hurt. Then either that person or someone we don’t fully trust not to hurt us makes a comment, not intended to hurt. But, because we have the buried wound, it does hurt. “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip” Winston Churchill What can happen then with sarcasm is it becomes unbalanced, in that it becomes a reflective action, in which we hit back before they can hurt us. Having that someone that we can talk to, and tell them everything that is on our minds, is what helps us to keep out thoughts, mind and hearts in balance.
The last few months of my mom’s life, humor was necessary and required. We had friends and relatives coming from all over the U.S, Canada and even Germany so say goodbye to my mom. She had the most powerful hugs and a laugh that you could hear at the other end of the stadium. She could walk into a room of strangers and walk out knowing everyone and their life history. She once went on a trip by herself to Taiwan, Hong Kong and had a blast. Even though she could only speak English, she managed to make life long friends with people who didn’t speak English. As people came to visit, they would out of habit ask, “How are you?” Then they would be mortified because they asked it of a woman who had only weeks to live and was on morphine for the pain of lung cancer. So we got these t-shirts and would wear them almost every day, which said “Really I’m Fine” with a picture of a black and white cow laying on its back with all four legs straight up in the air. The humor of the shirt helped everyone be ok with what was happening. “I’m not a smartass…, I am a skill, trained professional in pointing out the obvious and I speak fluent sarcasm” Minion Quote
“Our reaction to a situation literally has the power to change the situation itself” Unknown. Do you remember a scene in a movie, where the good guy is in deep trouble. No way out. And then they say something designed to tick off the bad guy, and you hold your breath and then the bad guy laughs and the whole scene shifts? Do something that makes people present their best selves to everyone they meet. Risk being seen, in all of your glory, not hiding a single refraction of your light. Don’t just hope for the best. Hope walks through the fire, faith leaps over the fire. What you don’t know, but hope for, is what is killing your dreams from coming into reality. The reason why faith leaps over the fire, is that it is the assured expectation of a reality not yet beheld. It doesn’t just “HOPE” it might happen or be possible. “FAITH” knows that it is already done and waiting for you.
“It’s been a rough week, but on a positive note…, I didn’t need any bail money and didn’t have to hide any bodies” Minion Quote. Heartbreaks happen to all of us, but don’t let anyone break your soul. Realize that a bad attitude is like a flat tire. You have the choice to change it and go places, or sit there and have a pity party. If you think about it, every strong person that you have read about or know personally had things go wrong in their life. Usually a lot of things, that is why you think that they are a strong person. Michelangelo in creating the statue David, removed more of the marble block as waste. than what remained when the statue was completed. What we go through in life, removes all of the parts of us that are not needed. When the divine is finished with us, what remains is a work of art.
And if nothing else gets you moving remember how many people you still have to prove wrong. Lol
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Knowing my True North gives me courage to focus my energy where I believe it should be, not according to what is popular or pleasing to others.
– Jennifer Cummings
There are times when we feel drawn by something that we can’t quite name. It’s a whisper in our ears, a tug in our hearts. We feel it pulling us towards “true north” or home. We may not understand it, but we know that we have to go there. When we are searching for our place in this life, we are looking for our souls home.
Never ever base a decision on someone else or what they think. Find your compass and find your own true north.
– Michelle McIntosh
The interior compass may seem to be spinning in all directions. You no longer have an interest in looking backwards. You just don’t know what direction to take.
Coincidence doesn’t exist and goosebumps never lie. Your body already knows the answer. All you have to do is turn down your spinning mind, and continue to follow all signs. Because you are always worthy of becoming your best and most actualized self.
– Victoria Erickson
When we are at one of life’s transitions, and trying to re-imagine a new life – that is when we need each other. We can help each other to find the way to our souls calling, to home. We don’t throw limited beliefs into each others faces. We help to end the wobble in each others compass, so we can each find our own true north. These kind of friends celebrate you living your own truth, your divine destiny. Sharing a path with such a person is a sacred gift.
The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are, and not be questioned.
– Maya Angelou
The path to home is found in only one direction, the winds of change. The storms of life are by design to help us change. They don’t happen to us, they happen for us. Recognize change when it comes upon you, learn what it has to teach you, and always keep your compass on your own True North.
We are not retreating – we are advancing in another direction.
– Douglas MacArthur
How much we go through in these storms is determined by the attitude we have, by the actions we take, and how well we are listening and paying attention to what is happening. I think that the meaning we give things has a large part to play in how we advance. Are we retreating or advancing in a new direction. One view indicates failure and one view indicates resilience.
People always asked her where she was going . . . Not fully knowing herself, she answered with a smile: “I’m going in the right direction.”
The more clarity we take in, the less damage the storm brings with it, as we go through it. It is always our choice of having a breakdown or a breakthrough. We don’t have to get lost drifting in the “good old days” feeling sorry for ourselves. We don’t try to avoid the truths that the storm reveals, by using drugs or alcohol or sex to escape. We cannot become who we wish to be, if we don’t push forward and leave the past behind us.
Goals are my north star. My compass. The map that guides me along the road I wish to travel. Goals are motivations with wind in their sails, they carry me forward despite the storms.
– Richelle Goodrich
LemonadeMakers don’t wait for the world to change into a better place. They change themselves, guided by their journey to their own True North. LemonadeMakers are driven by the passion they have in life, to do and be extraordinary. As each individual, upon each individual changes, the world changes with them. It may not happen overnight, and it may not happen as fast as we want it to happen. But is will happen.
Like a magnetized needle floating on a surface of oil, resistance will unfailing point to true north – meaning that calling or action it most wants to stop us from doing. We can use this. We can use it as a compass. We can navigate by resistance, letting it guide us to that calling or action that we must follow before all others. Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.
– Steven Presfield
LemonadeMakers are all just walking each other home. Home is not where we were born. It is not our current place of residence. It is a place that we find deep within ourselves. It is that space in our heart, where our soul resides. It is the place where we discover our true self. And if the sun is too hot, or the rain is a down pouring torrent, or the snow becomes a blizzard, then we can be each a shelter for each other, until the path home becomes clear again.
Knowing my true north gives me the courage to focus my energy where I believe it should be, not according to what is popular or pleasing to others.
– Jennifer Cummings
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