Thomas Merton

I recently heard about this prayer by Thomas Merton. After reading the prayer a few times I decided to share it here.

living well, authentic living, life coach, true intimacy, women's mentor, warrior and advocate for women, emotionally healthy living, recovery, it's what matters most, gratitude, nurturing, there for you, home

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

I know many people who attend church religiously would have a problem with this prayer…a HUGE problem. They would say it lacks faith. They would insist that they DO know where they are going and they DO know they are doing God’s will.

I’m not here to judge anyone, but I am here to tell you that this prayer pretty much sums up exactly where I am these days. And I will go a step further and say that I believe that it takes a lot of faith to trust that you are in the exact place you are supposed to be, and at the exact time.

There is a scripture, Psalm 139:16, that speaks to this point. Here is the verse:

Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. 

If I am to accept the things I cannot change, then I must believe that a Power greater than myself knows exactly what He is doing, and I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and that even though the path to get here is one I wouldn’t wish on anyone, it is the path that was laid out for me before the beginning of time and I am good with that. In fact, I am better than good (most days) because it keeps me in a place of serenity and peace and that is an amazing place to be.

Thank you, Thomas Merton, for the reminder.

Just Stay You

I was reading something the other day and the phrase “Just stay you” jumped off the page at me.

Just Stay You.

relationships, marriage, Life coach, choosing to grow, authentic you, true intimacy, Louisville coach, transitioning women

In a world that is constantly pulling us in all directions to “try this” and “be that” and “do this” and “life is short”…it gets complicated and confusing. Add that with the fact that life is racing by at lightening speed and “live longer”, “be healthier” and “become all you can be”, well it all gets a little overwhelming.

If you start looking at the concept of just stay you, be true to who you are,  and discover what drives you; what you are passionate about, suddenly all those flashing neon signs that are constantly vying for our attention begin to dim as we turn our focus to just say who we were meant to be.

For many of us (me, me, me!) it may take a while to find out who you are in order to just stay you. We often get so caught up in being who “they” tell us to be that we don’t even know how to just stay you. We come to think of ourselves as what we do instead of who we are. We become a spouse, a parent, a friend, always busy doing all the important things that come with those parts of who we are that we get lost in the shuffle. And if you’re a mother, oftentimes you don’t discover that you’ve lost yourself until the kids are grown and out the door.

We get time to prepare along the path of motherhood; the kids need us less and less, exactly how it is supposed to go, but we don’t recognize it. We still keep fulfilling the role off Mom, without noticing that our kids aren’t really paying attention anymore.

If you are like me, becoming a mother was a long awaited for aspect of  life. I wanted to be a mother in the worst way, and it didn’t happen until I was thirty years old. Granted, that doesn’t sound very old by today’s standards but watching one friend after another become a mother for the first, second and third time before I became pregnant was a difficult road to walk.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I know without a doubt that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and the path that was uniquely mine is the exact journey I was created for.

I also know that to just stay me is a process and definitely NOT a destination. I will just stay me one day at a time, as I embrace every new event and situation that comes my way. I have a growing trust just for today, that my life is exactly as it should be.

And that tidbit of truth will allow me to just stay me… just for today.

I hope you join me in this journey too, and just stay you.

Life Kept Moving

I ran across this post from a few years ago. This situation is but a distance memory. Life kept moving and the events surrounding this situation just sort of ran it’s course.

living well, authentic living, life coach, true intimacy, women's mentor, warrior and advocate for women, emotionally healthy living, recovery, it's what matters most, gratitude, nurturing, there for you, home

That’s generally how things go in life.

Life has a way of working out just how it’s supposed to.

My life would have been different if I had embraced this idea a long time ago, but I guess that’s just a case in point. I learned what I needed to learn, at exactly the right time.

I read Psalms 139 almost every day. It says in verse 16: You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

This is the post:

Well that didn’t go the way we had planned. Have you ever had an important meeting or event that was suppose to go a certain way and it didn’t? Not that it was guaranteed. It was simply implied…a few times, by someone who should know but who left out a few key factors.

That was the case yesterday. It was a very difficult meeting and a tough day overall. I awoke with a sense that all would not turn out the way we had thought and I was right. Sometimes I hate being right.

This was an important meeting too, a professional giving us the final missing pieces before we put the last piece into place and sign on the dotted line, so to speak. Now we get to rework the puzzle, and we are finding pieces that fit just as well that will hopefully produce the intended results we started out to procure in the first place.

This is all a little vague I know, and that’s okay because it can apply to so many avenues in our lives, our lives personally and to many lives as a whole. And if you know what I’m talking about, in a general sort of way, having experienced the unexpected turn of events; not that this will change your outcome or help you find the missing pieces to your puzzle, but a single scoop of your favorite ice cream, from your local ice cream shop, in a chocolate dipped waffle bowl does wonders in starting you on the path of reconfiguring and regrouping, but not so much with the daily or weekly weigh-in.

Today is a new day. A time to recharge and revamp and to once again take the next steps, one at a time, to continue the process of doing what we know to do.

And that’s a good thing because yesterday was very disappointing, ice cream scoop and all.

Life kept moving on, leaving behind the all-important situations in it’s wake. It doesn’t seem so at the time, but that’s the way it goes.

Life kept moving and so did we.

Hope Coach-Advocate and warrior for women.

Perspective Remains the Same

I found this old post that I wrote five years ago. Things change, that’s for sure, but perspective remains the same.

 

Today was a nice day weather-wise. It wasn’t in the 90s for the first time in at least a week. It was a good day to be outside. Even my mailman husband thought so. Only problem is I don’t have an ‘outside’ and I miss that so much now that I live in an apartment. So I was feeling a little sorry for myself about the whole ordeal…yet again, but as I posted back in October Perspective is Everything.

Perspective remains the same and my perspective is quite different on that today. In fact, it is almost a complete turn around. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t say that I enjoyed that situation, however, today, looking back, that was really not that big of a deal.

Well, it was and it wasn’t. At the time it was HUGE! Now, it’s not that big of a deal at all. But maybe that’s how all life’s unexpected situations are, going through it feels like the worst of the worst. If you’re brave enough to look back, and truthfully I just now am, the lessons are priceless.

And the rest of the post is the following paragraph:

I had lunch earlier this week with a friend who had breast cancer four years ago. She has had painful complications ever since…lives in pain everyday, in fact, and knows that at each check-up she too could get the news that it has returned. What a way to live.

My friend realized that fear back in October of 2015. You may have read my post Preparing to Leave. She is gone now. She is missed but this woman who was loved and respected by so many people is out of pain and for that we are all grateful.

That doesn’t mean that I (or anyone else) will ever like those inevitable life situations that we so dislike, but it pretty much guaranteed that our perspectives will change…someday.

Perspective is indeed everything and perspective remains the same as we experience each new situation.

Home

There’s no place like home, just ask Dorothy of The Wizard of Oz. Home is where your heart is. Home is where you build your nest. The best journey takes you home. Home is where you hang your hat (or heart). All of these “home” sayings are true, however, there is one that is my current favorite home quote: “Home is where your story begins.”

living well, authentic living, life coach, true intimacy, women's mentor, warrior and advocate for women, emotionally healthy living, recovery, it's what matters most, gratitude, nurturing, there for you, home

My first thoughts upon reading that quote were very literal. It makes sense that it begins at home. Home is where you go after you are delivered into this world.

That’s where you grow, learn, interact, play, and if you’re especially fortunate to be blessed with two healthy parents, home is where you are loved and are taught to live and love as they raise you to be an emotionally healthy individual.

But now I have a little different perspective of “Home is where your story begins”.

Going back to The Wizard of Oz, Glenda, the good witch from the East, told Dorothy that she always had the power and ability to go back home within her. It was right there all the time. I think the reason for that is simply because we are responsible for making a home for ourselves. Our story begins at home because we are our homes and where we are is where our story begins.

“You can start your day over at any time” another slogan goes.

This goes along with my “home” concept. Your story starts over often and continues to do so over the course of your life time.

Each new phase and event in your life typically ends and leads to a new beginning, a new place to start; from babyhood to adolescence, to teenage years, to young adults, to life partners, to parents, to grandparents, to senior citizens, if your life progresses typically. Each time, during every new phase in life, your story begins at home. Your place of calm, safety and love. You can provide those things for yourself and the significant people in your life, and hopefully your significant people are doing the same…making a home.

It’s good to go home. Traveling is a pleasure that I have come to appreciate more and more the older I get. It’s always good to get back home, though. There is something comforting about the familiarity of home.

But the really cool thing is your home is always with you, even when you are away because you have the ability to make a home for yourself no matter where you are.

Safe. Calm. Loving.

 

More There For You

A few days ago I wrote a post about being there for you. I was thinking more about that today. My friend Mary (remember that post?) talks a lot about being “there for you” and I was pondering those things today. One such lesson is having people in your life who are there for you.

 living well, authentic living, life coach, true intimacy, women's mentor, warrior and advocate for women, emotionally healthy living, recovery, it's what matters most, gratitude, nurturing, there for you

Mary talks about a home. There is a difference between a house and a home. Did you know that? What do you have? There is love in a home. Love is a verb. Doing the work of love is providing protection for you family, and have an environment in the home that is safe, calm and loving. “If you love me”, Mary would say, “Then you will protect me.”

In some houses there is so much chaos that no one could find safety or even a glimmer of calm even if they searched for hours. What does your dwelling place look like? Are you there for your children, for your spouse or significant other? If so, are you there at the expense of taking care of yourself? Do you know what I mean by that last question?

It is very important to love yourself. That is called self care. Mary talks a lot about self care as well. What are some things we can do to take care of ourselves?

First of all, some people think it is selfish to even think about taking care of yourself. They think it’s all about others. And it is! But not at the expense of YOU.

Do you ever fly? If so then you’ve heard the spiel about the oxygen masks dropping down in case there was a decrease in oxygen in the plane. They instruct parents who are traveling with children to first put on their own masks before they assist the children with theirs. The concept is you’re not much good to someone else unless you are stable enough yourself to assist them.

This is the same idea behind self care. Emotionally, physically, spiritually and sexually. These are the four boundaries that make up a human. Guess where I learned that? Yep! Mary. The emotional boundary is what makes up the greatest part of who we are. If that boundary gets harmed in any way then you’re headed for trouble in all areas.

Who is there for you? Who are you there for? It’s equally important to know who you’re there for as well. You can’t be there for everyone. You have a core group of people who you can be there for. You can offer help to others outside of this group but the type, quality and time depends on your relationship with them.

It’s very important to take care of the relationships that are important to us. They are living, breathing and in need of time, attention, affection and approval in order to survive and thrive. All healthy relationships need “The Three A’s: attention, affection and approval.

Can you ever say enough about how important it is to be there for those you love? I think not but I am finished for today.

Come back again for some ideas on how to take care of yourself!

Journal Writing

Ever since I was a teen I have kept a journal of some sort. It all began very innocently. At first Istarted using a calendar. I had a calendar that I hung on the bulletin board in my room. I would write birthdays on it. Then I began writing down upcoming appointments and events. Soon I would write tidbits of what took place on a particular day until those tiny little squares were no longer big enough to contain the things I wanted to write.

past remains the same, living well, authentic living, life coach, true intimacy, women's mentor, warrior and advocate for women, emotionally healthy living, recovery, it's what matters most, gratitude, nurturing

That’s when it progressed to a notebook. Actually, if I recall correctly, I used loose leaf paper and put it in a pocket folder, the kind that has the thingys that hold the paper in the center of the folder…what are they called?

I no longer have the orginal journal I kept during high school. I destroyed it when I moved out of my parents home. It was too incriminating. Nothing illegal, mind you, just stuff I would rather not share with whoever will be reading it when I pass from this world. I do, however, still have those calendars in a keepsake box…

When I was a young mother I got really busy and there were huge time lapse in between entries. One thing I did start and am so glad I did, was keeping a journal for each of my three kids. It started as letters to each of them when I was pregnant. I think I made two or three entries during that time. It then became more of a recording of special events and occasions as they were growing. And finally, now that they are older, I have returned to writing letters again, letters which contain things I want to say to them, things I perhaps haven’t said as often as I would have liked, and of things I think they would want to hear from their mother once I am gone.

With the move several months ago, I seemed to have misplaced one of the journals. I know where they were kept before we moved. I know where two of them are now. I just can’t seem to find the other one, the one that belongs to my youngest child. I’m hoping with all that I have that I will find it safely tucked away in a box that is in the storage unit.

And the journal was found!

The Past Remains the Same

I came across a post from about five years ago. It’s interesting how so much has changed but so much has remained the same. The past remains the same unless you make the necessary changes to cause a different tomorrow.

past remains the same, living well, authentic living, life coach, true intimacy, women's mentor, warrior and advocate for women, emotionally healthy living, recovery, it's what matters most, gratitude, nurturing

The rest of the post is the one from the past. I would still like to sit where others sit to better understand where there are, and yet I realize that I have sat in similar places, and I’ve also come to realize that to do so really isn’t necessary for me to be there and offer the only thing I have to give; validation of their experiences and memories and to be there, to listen.

I no longer live in that apartment that I mentioned below but it still remains the same that there are always people who have it worse than you do, worse than I do.

I’m in an interesting place in my life today, one I have been trying to avoid for many years. And that is just one of the things I am dealing with. I am definitely in a grieving process. As much as things have changed, they haven’t.

And now, they finally are.

 

All through the day I was conversing with a few distraught friends via text, phone and face-to-face. Their conflicts are real, their pain is tangible, their heartache ever-present. I wish we could sit where others are sitting and feel what they are feeling for the sake of better understanding. I wish we could sit in that seat when we don’t know what to say.

I saw the mother of one of my son’s friends. She recently lost her husband, quickly and tragically in a car accident. He left the house to go to work and he never came home. It made me think of how much I dislike living in the apartment my family currently resides. I wish I didn’t…dislike it or live in an apartment. But it hit me, this woman who I barely knew, this woman I embraced and listened to as she spoke of her journey from the physical pain of grief to the world of living without her spouse; this woman would gladly trade places with me, give up her home and all that she possessed just to have her husband back.

The past has a way of remaining the same unless you are willing to meet reality face to face and make the necessary changes that will lead to a better you and healthier relationships.

 

There For You

 

I had the opportunity to spend some alone time with my dad the other day, just me and him.

It is always time well spent when you feel like someone is there for you.

there for you, living well, authentic living, life coach, true intimacy, women's mentor, warrior and advocate for women, emotionally healthy living, recovery, it's what matters most, gratitude, nurturing

I shared with him things that are going on in my life, events and situations that have taken place the past several months.

He listened. He commented. And although I know he doesn’t understand everything I told him; he can’t, I don’t expect him to because he hasn’t walked in my shoes, he hasn’t lived my life, but I came away from time with Dad feeling that he loves me just the way I am, and he cares about my life and those that I love.

I think he felt the same way too; at least I hope he did. I listened as he shared his thoughts, feelings and experiences. I let him feel what he felt and share whatever he wanted. I tried to validate his feelings and experiences without giving advice or sharing my opinion.

That is what a loving and nurturing relationship is all about. It’s what emotionally healthy people do. It’s what emotionally healthy relationships are made of.

He was present and there for me and no matter how old we are, we will always need our moms and our dads.

As I was writing this post I recalled various conversations I have had lately and I feel especially fortunate, not just for the time I had with my dad that day but because my dad is there for me. These conversations were filled with shave, anger and depression. Sometimes these women are talking about their deceased dads that were abusive alcoholics. The pain they lived through with the sexual, physical, emotional abuse inflicted by their dads is so very sad.What a thing to have happen to you. How horrible to have a person who is supposed to protect you and love you become a perpetrator. I have great admiration for those women who courageously face the abuse and make peace with the past and go on to live full lives, no longer letting the past shame and control them.

I admire how they are able, after much hard work, come to terms with the past and begin to build healthy lives and have healthy relationships.

I really didn’t intend to go in this direction while writing this post, however, it goes along with recovery and emotionally healthy living which I have been writing about lately.

Having a dad who is there for you is a blessing indeed.

Nurturing Senses

Have you ever been out in public, at a restaurant or shopping mall, and suddenly you are hit with a fragrance that sends you back to your childhood? There are some smells that are just plain nurturing.

living well, authentic living, life coach, true intimacy, women's mentor, warrior and advocate for women, emotionally healthy living, recovery, it's what matters most, gratitude, nurturing

I remember being a child, probably around eight years old, sitting on a pew in church next to my mother. I would lean my head over to rest it on her bare shoulder. I would encounter the smell of my mother.

I’m not sure what scent she was wearing or whether she had on any perfume at all, however, I do remember the sensation that would come over me as my cheek touched her skin. There was a feeling of comfort and safety as I leaned against my mother.

It’s funny how nurturing some senses can be.

I also remember a dress that she wore in my mind’s eye. It was a summer dress, sleeveless, cotton. It’s the print that I remember best. It was mostly white with tiny butterflies places randomly throughout the fabric. I’m not sure whether she made the dress herself or not, but there was that sense of comfort once again when I saw my mom wearing that dress.

I mention Mary on this blog quite a bit these days and I get this feeling with her too. She has a lovely scent that she wears and every time she gives me a hug I get that nurturing sense of love. She has this way about her, the way she wraps you in her arms. You surely know you’ve been hugged once you’ve encountered Mary. It’s one of the things I love about her. It’s one of the things we all love about her, that warm and welcoming embrace.

I am tempted to ask her what fragrance she wears. I wonder if I would feel that same sense of comfort if I wore the scent myself? It is important to be able to love yourself, to comfort yourself. That is called self-care. Any time we can comfort and love ourselves, well, that is a good thing.

It’s true that we need each other. It’s important to have your tribe, that group of people who are there for you when you need them. But it’s also good to know that we have the ability to love and comfort ourselves when the need arises.

It’s also true that I can’t love others unless I first love myself.