Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Greatest Prison...

This was a prison of mine for a great part of my life.  The walls of that prison have been crumbling for years as truth truly has set me free!  The feeling of having no value is a black, sticky, life sucking lie that can incapacitate your health, destroy your joy and annihilate hope... keeping you from truly loving yourself or others.  It leads you down a path of false living, tiptoeing around in hopes to keep everyone happy and loving your facade.

Be true to yourself!  Shakespeare was on to something!  Once you begin to allow yourself to be YOU, no matter if others understand you or accept you, your true self and your life will begin to blossom.  If you're eccentric... Be Eccentric!  If you're quiet and love your not apologize for being so!  If you're Both... Its OK!  Honor the person you are and stop living in fear of others... 9 times out of 10... THEY have the same issue and are merely requiring you to be what is comfortable to them!

As a child I was a free spirit who spoke what was on her heart, fearing no one.  Often I was corrected for my exhuberous outbursts having grown up in the "Children should be seen and not heard" era.  I distinctly recall one time when I was around ten.  My parents and I were at a company outing.  I was sitting with the adults as that is where I always felt most comfortable.  I don't recall what was said, but I made a comment inside the adult conversation.  I can only imagine that I tread on sacred territory without permission. It was probably something a bit witty, as that is who the real me is.  What I do recall was my father turning to me with "those eyes" and I knew I was in deep doodoo.  Later, on the way home, I got the tongue lashing of my life!  I remember being crushed to the core and vowing I would never speak again.  Of course I did, but it was never the same.  I became very fearful of saying the wrong thing...causing embarrassment or discomfort to others or to myself.

From that point on (to a much later time in life) I can honestly say I began wearing a facade, thinking the true me was not to be trusted or appreciated.  I was convinced that I needed to find a comfortable mask or masks that others would be comfortable with also.  This led down a very long arduous road. Every mask I chose to wear was just another lie, just another facade, just another clown and every mask brought with it... another layer of fear.  All for the sake of being accepted by others. I literally had become a chameleon!  I became a great follower.  Friend to anyone who would have me, which was not necessarily a healthy way to pick your friends.  I became a doormat and I said "I'm sorry" way too many times.  It was a spiraling journey of self pity, self doubt, fear of others, loneliness, deep sorrow, jealousy, envy and lack of any hope of things being ever being different.  I felt like a prisoner in my own skin...but felt like only I could hear my screams for others told me to pull up my big girl panties and deal with it.

It was not until I was in my late thirties and had passed through a serious valley of 10 years suffering with clinical depression that I realized what my life had been based on.  And even upon the emerging out of that valley I only knew this... My life at that time had been based upon lies.  With this knowledge and the acceptance of this knowledge I was able to break the spell of depression...but I still had a long row to hoe in recognizing what those lies actually were and having the wherewithal to find the truth and accept it.  

Now, 20 years later, I cannot say I have achieved complete wholeness, but I can say I am more aware of who I really am and therefore I can tell when I'm not being true to that! In the banking business they say to really know a counterfeit bill you must first study the real bill until you know it so well that when you hold a counterfeit it is immediately recognized.  The same in true in discovering our true selves.  So for the past 20 years or so I have in bit and pieces discovered the real person that I was created to be.  Allowing for her to emerge into a safe and non judgmental place within my own body, as I had even become fearful of my own judgement.  This was probably the most difficult thing to do as many of you know, we can be very cruel to ourselves. (a whole other subject for another day)

Throughout this period of emergence there have been extreme highs where confidence was through the roof and just as extreme lows where I felt I was having to start all over again.  One of the greatest things that has come from this time has been the ability to recognize depression in a split second.  I can smell it creeping my way and have literally felt the need to verbally tell it, you are not welcome here.  I recall so clearly one day, after having my feelings hurt very deeply by a friend at the time, crawling into bed and pulling the covers over my head.  I remember thinking, "I might as well just return to the dark place as no one understood me anyway."  The second I said this I heard a voice in my head say... "Ok, you may choose to go back, but plan on staying there. Or you can get up and get downstairs in the kitchen!" (I know that sounds strange but its what I heard!) I only took a half second to contemplate my options before throwing the covers off and running downstairs to the find myself standing in the middle of my kitchen!  It was small steps like these that have helped me stand on my own two feet.  To honor the real me and not fall back into my old habits of hiding behind masks, and in this case, bed covers, in order to deal with the thoughts or opinions of another person.  It takes effort on my part to make a conscience decision to not just suck it up or pull up your big girl panties, as some would tell me, but a conscience decision to be tender with myself and remember that I have value, no matter what anyone else says, does, or acts like.

 "The greatest prison people live in, is the fear of what other people think."  What I want to express here is its not just the depressed who have experienced this prison, that was just an experience of mine. But there is a huge amount of us, of all walks of life, perhaps even the majority of us that have lived or are living inside this prison, some not even knowing they are or that there is a way out. The key to exiting this massive, life sucking prison, is Love. I know, sounds too simple or even a bit on the satirical...but it's True... Its THE TRUTH!  By first accepting acknowledging to yourself you have been dependent on this approval of others you open yourself up to being true to yourself and loving and honoring the spirit within.  You are no longer dependent on the acidic pablum of needing the approval of others and are more willing to love them with truth and Love.  When you choose Love, the doors swing wide open and it can be a bit scary at first as you walk through those prison gates. The path of freedom is always going to have rocks, potholes, and even quicksand...but keep on trusting, keep your heart open, seek a heart of Love, seek the truth about who you are, stop seeking the approval of others (even in the small things), remove the masks and recognize that your inner critic is only trying to hide you from the truth that already is.

Yes, I'm still learning, still allowing, still emerging, even at the ripe old age of 57.  And I intend to continue doing so.  I'm not saying in any of this that its ok to stomp on others with your new found freedoms and look the other way saying: well thats just me or who I am... No... I'm speaking of finding Love. Loving yourself first creates a capacity of loving others anyway.  What I mean by that is no matter what the others say, no matter what they throw your way, You, respond in Love. Most of the time we are "throwing" at others because we are having a hard time, loving ourselves. And so knowing this, it almost makes life a little more bearable, knowing that not only you are learning this valuable life lesson, but there are multitude of others at differing stages of the same path.  As I have said, I am far from through, but this is who I really am and I desire more than ever to allow myself to BE ALL that I was created to be.  Witty, Wise, Funny, Creative, but most of all, Loving.

You are Love!  We are Love! Created in Love, by Love and for Love.  That is our core.  Anything other than that is false.  Love exists within.  Like the banker studies the real bill to recognize the counterfeit, study your true self, don't ask others what they think, trust that your true self is enough.  As you do, you will know when the dependent need for others approval raises its ugly head.  The counterfeit will be exposed and disposed as you seek the truth in Love.

So here's my true confession.  Even as I write these words, a battle rages within.  "Who do you think you are to write on such a heavy subject?"  "What about those who will not agree with what you wrote?" "You didn't mention anything about your faith here." "You're going to lose friends over this!"
and so on and so on... See I still battle the lies... But I know this one thing, I know from where this message comes... it comes from my own experiences in Life... my own discovery of my real self... my own heart of Love that wishes to share that same Love with others.  I'm confident in that Love and that Love only...therefore I can confidently share this message with you.

May we all walk free of the fear of what others think and be true to ourselves and recognize that We ARE Love!

Photo and Quote Credit: Michael Baisden on FaceBook
Photo and Quote Credit: and Queenisms tm

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Separate Paths Always Together

There are letters...masses of letters...letters made up of...letters...written on the walls of my heart. Occasionally they slip out onto paper or onto a magic screen of typewritten letters.  This is one of them:

"I wish you the best and honor your journey, dear heart!  I'm so happy we are traveling and exploring our passions together!  I see us skipping down dirt paths with lil sprigs of grasses tickling our ankles and a thin median of thicket between us... we're giggling... and we can see each other through the brush and occasionally there is an opening where we can stop and touch and tickle...or pick up a doodlebug... or stop by a stream to explore or rest by... then off we go along our paths each one seeing something different and yet the same... as our eyes meet between the branches... we both know we're not alone... we're never alone... ever!"  

Separate paths, always together...

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Do you have to see to paint?

Things I loved about this painters story:

Despite his disabilities, he didn't give up.

As an adult who could no longer see, he recalled the beauty around him as a child.

He found a way to express what he remembered.

He uses a stronger sense to guide him...touch.

He ALLOWS his hands to compose.

He doesn't have to see what he paints.

He smiles while he paints.

He doesn't fret over the results of his work.

"You're not looking at it like, is it good or bad or how is it going to turn out. You look at it more from an imaginary point"

"Even if it's hard to do something, you can always do it!"

"Live your dreams and try to do the most you can in life."

"Be good to people!"
He just puts onto paper that which brings him the most joy. 

He paints to please himself.

He is humble.

His results 










~ selah ~

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

She has Inner Resources

Ohhhhh Eloise!  You stole my heart back in 196*^%$*% when I received my first book Eloise At Christmastime from my big sister...(who by the way has ALWAYS been smaller than me!)  I remember where we were living, a fancy shmancy 2 story apartment in Meyerland and my sister, Nesta (as I have always called her) was working at Joske's department store wrapping gifts!  Of course I could have my facts wrong...but this is how I prefer to remember it!  (said in my most innocent Eloise voice!)

Over the years Eloise has continued to be my all time favorite book and in my opinion, one of the best descriptions of how I envision myself as a child...even today.  Her reckless abandon screams out from inside my much older self...screaming to be let loose and enjoyed on a daily basis!  Funny how we see ourselves... and yet how we actually allow ourselves to be seen by others!  Sure I have my Eloise moments where everyone looks at me and wonders what in the world is she thinking... but for the most part, I'm pretty reserve...but for those who have known me...anything can be blurted out at any time...even surprising...ME!

So why am I talking about Eloise today???   Well it all started with a dream.  One I experienced last night.  I won't go into all the details here but just a small part that still brings a grin upon my face.
     I was in a room full of familiar faces... I was a young girl...and I was talking with a young friend who was a boy.  I asked him if I had ever shown him how I could fly.  He looked surprised and replied with a chuckle and an unbelieving, "No!"  I knew he had not ever seen me as I knew I had never revealed anyone but myself.  I looked around and everyone in the room was talking with each other...much like in a social setting but it looked like a classroom... a large room with white walls and dark wood floors and the same dark wood around the windows and large wood doors.  The sun was shining outside, lighting up the room through the tall multi-paned windows.
     I then looked back at my friend and began to concentrate on lifting off the ground, which I started to do immediately.  My friend had this shocked look on his face as he watched me rise off the ground higher and higher.  Much to my delight others began to take notice as well.  I wanted to squeal  but knew I needed to keep my attention on what I was doing or I would begin to lower in elevation.
    By this time most everyone was watching in silence and amazement as I continued to rise higher and higher....almost reaching the ceiling which was vaulted with wood beams. When I was about 5 feet from the ceiling I stopped and maintained that height for a few seconds... I could tell that it would take a concentrated effort to reach all the way to the I took my mind off of all those gawking eyes and open mouths long enough to make my way all the way to the top.
     After reaching the ceiling, I proceeded to do a back flip much like a swan dive but in a perfect circle... I had the biggest smile on my face as I did it so effortlessly.  Then as easily as I rose up.... I let myself back down, steadily landing on my feet.
     There was a lot of hoopla going on about what I had just done...but it wasn't anything to me.  It was as easy as walking to me...but I knew once it was revealed to was something special... innate within me...but I also wasn't only me that had this ability...but all of us.  ~end~

The child within has no fear to do what is natural or unnatural...

When I decided to share this magical dream with you, I went in search of a picture or drawing that would best depict the scene. I couldn't find what I was seeing in my minds eye, so I attempted to draw it out.  While I was drawing I recalled Eloise... and the many wonderful action pictures that I so loved of her adventures.  That's when I found this lovely drawing of her... from one of her books. It portrays exactly how I was feeling as I began my accent to the ceiling... and what a wonderful caption to go with the action... "She has Inner Resources"   Yes...I agree.  WE DO...

Now, why, you may ask, am I sharing this silliness with you today?  I believe it's a message...a message for each one of us willing to listen and apply to our own lives.  We Can Fly!  YES!  We Really Can!  There was no fear... that rose up within me in this dream.  It was matter of fact.  It was precise and clear as to what I wanted to accomplish and didn't stop for a moment, after looking around the room at all the people who may take notice, to question whether I could or couldn't do this thing, or what would others think, or how was I going to keep my concentration while others were watching... I just did it.  Hey... maybe NIKE was on to something... Just Do It!  Sounds simple...and truly... it is!

The Moment Of Truth Has Arrived

Only WE make it difficult, scary, impossible.  What lies dormant within YOU?  What are you wiling to do about it?  We are not guaranteed a tomorrow... But we DO have THIS MOMENT to rise up and do a backwards swan dive!!!  So glad I did... and so will YOU!   I Promise! 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

On the walls of my heart... Image vs Truth

 ~ Jean Baptiste Massieu, translated from French ~  Artist Unknown ~
The other day a dear friend and I were emailing back and forth and the topic of self image came up.  It came up when she had sent out a request to friends to send her a video of ourselves to her to include in a major project she is working on.  As much as I would love to be included, everything inside of me was turning upside down and sideways at the thought of sending a vid of myself to anyone...much less be included in a big project that would be seen by thousands...millions!!!  It really stirred up some dust that had settled inside my heart!  Dust I forgot was there...only because I try not to notice it!  But dust being what it is... tends to sneak in places we weren't expecting to find it...then all the sudden...we SNEEZE!  I surely wasn't expecting to sneeze that day... but I'm so glad I did!

Did it make that day a bad day?  Absolutely NOT!  It was a precious reminder of some of the images, words, feelings that are still impressed on the walls of my heart!  I'm grateful for the reminder because now I can take action, to have grace on myself, and wash those walls...again!  I haven't always been a grateful, for years I've been angry, frustrated, irritated, envious, jealous... saturated with grief that things weren't different.  Saturated with to write that brings an amazing reality to some of the depth of pain I've allowed to reside within my heart..and spew out amongst those closest to me.  I apologize again to those who have been affected, thank you again for your grace with me.

What happened that day took me back to a snippet of a journal piece I wrote years ago about my self image.
"Hey Beautiful!" As I turned around I could see my tall slender friend, Kay, peering at me over the tops of the hundreds of other Jr. High students running from one class to another.  Her face beaming a huge smile, her aqua eyes locked right on... me.  There was no doubt she was talking to me, yet how could such a beautiful creature be calling me...beautiful?  And yet again...this same scenario repeated itself day after day.  I could hear her voice over all the clamoring, all the shouting, all the mumbles and jumbles of hundreds of students.  Was it true...or just a nice gesture?  I didn't spend much time then trying to figure that out, because those words sunk deep and touched a part of me that just needed to be touched....and for a half second or so... I believed them.
Me @ 15 hopelessly convinced I was fat in my size 5 jeans in high school

Even in Jr. High, at a ripe old age of 11-13, I had already convinced myself that the media was right, I was average, not so lovely, not so attractive and I would for sure, never be the cute popular girl in school.  This graffiti was splashed all over the walls of my tender heart and I believed it more and more everyday I woke up.  Even though I had friends, even had a few boyfriends...even though I was not overweight or deprived in anyway... I continued to compare myself with the hundreds of images I was confronted with on a daily basis that told me if I was not this or that or had this or that ...then I was hopelessly average, below par and would never have popularity, prosperity or success. (things that were stressed to me as important) I, like millions of others, was in serious trouble of losing my very appreciation of life as a vital human being.

I also account another memorable incident concerning my self image on my other blog, where I speak about how disappointed I was the day I realized and confessed in anger that I was mad that I ended up with hips just like my mom.  It's worth a read if you have the time... Selah Gay Art Blog

Without going into the whole story of my life...I will say I ended up marrying an amazing man who loved me, and still loves me, with his whole heart, despite my spiraling self worth.  Out of this beautiful marriage I have three incredible boys (men!) who all have a wonderful sense of self worth and caring. Miracles DO Happen!  Having said that, the years I spent from Jr. High on up have been a continuous spiral of destructive self-talk and depreciation of my self image.
My Friends...My Precious...My Comfort...Food!

Over all those years of raising kids and being a wife I continued to recycle my false beliefs, I made some new friends... food (namely sweets and chips), and they were a delightful and tasty comfort to my depressive thoughts.  They never talked back to me...they always seemed bring, what I considered to be, "joy" back into my day...and were seemingly a nice friend all in all.  But I didn't want to notice that they were actually a wolves in sheeps clothing.  The "joy" would hang around for a few hours...until... the crash.  But thats ok.. I can do it all over again...right?

The big lie that was carved into my now stony heart was:
This one bite won't hurt... It won't make a difference! 
 One bite after another I partook in... sometimes within minutes of the last time I ran over to that wall and read that lie back to myself so I could take another bite!  I knew it wasn't helping my weight but it's hard to kick out a "good friend" that's always been faithful and there when you need them.  It's hard to cull out the ones that may seem so right at the time...but are the exact ones that are holding you back from seeing the truth...

Living life without believing that truth can lead to a lot of self inflicted sorrow!  I'm living proof...and thank God I'm still living to be able to tell my story!  Over those years I became a yo yo dieter...losing it all...gaining it back plus some...over and over again...many times never being able to get past the first good intentioned month of dieting.  This has wrecked havoc on my God given body...the precious temple that houses my beautiful spirit.  I've been rushed to the hospital twice with heart rates over 200, the last one was up to 256 beats a minute.  I knew then that if I didn't get a grip of my eating habits I was playing roulette with my life.  But, I continued to spin the wheel...I just couldn't let go
By the time they took my ekg my rate had gone DOWN to 216!

Its so interesting how the whole recycling false beliefs game works...You would think that if you know your life may end at any time because of your obesity you would hop right on that Get Er Done wagon...but instead you look in the mirror, don't like the image, so you eat, then you hate what you've done, so you eat some more, then you wallow, then you ignore the mirror, then you try to convince yourself it doesn't matter, but you know it does, so you eat and grow and expand and so on and so can be a vicious cycle, like an unrelenting hurricane! A cycle not easily broken, especially if you don't believe you are a vital, beautiful being that is worthy of living a healthy and fulfilling life!
Perhaps this is why I was so driven to paint a hurricane! 

So yes, I have struggled and am still working on washing those walls...ridding them of those embedded lies...some days are better than others. I've made the choice to make changes in my lifestyle.  Some of you have already seen on FaceBook I'm dropping the pounds.   I know this is an important part of my overall health and well being ...but I also know...who I am is vital and beautiful with or without the weight. Who I am lives within this human body but is not representative of the body itself.  Who I am is pure light, a created being, and an image of my Creator.  My purpose is to live this life I've been given as fully as I possibly can and in a continual process of creativity.  My life IS what I expect it to be.. therefore if I'm not happy with the life I am living... only I can change that!

We live the live we expect to live. 
Therefore if we are not happy with our life, 
we need only change our expectations!  ~ sg ~

I'm so grateful for the day I saw the dust... I don't want it to settle.  I want it exposed...I want the sheeps clothing to be ripped off the wolf... I want to look into my own eyes and see the truth...receive it into my heart...and let it shine for others to see it too.

Just the other day, I was putting a little eye makeup on, which I don't wear very often, so I was full face and close up to the mirror. (especially since I can't see without my readers!)  And for a split second...I saw her...and she was beautiful, kind and full of life...and I believe it!
She is me...