Sunday, April 18, 2010

Don't Let The Past Keep You From The Present

What is holding you back from reaching for your dreams? Or even from taking that necessary first step towards a new path and hopefully a new life?

Is it procrastination? If so, why? What holds a person back from starting an exciting journey to a better life? Life is loaded with responsibilities, but once they are cared for, what else?

Let's say, fear of the unknown. That's a common one. Sometimes it's hard to see past the fear even if it's only fear itself.


What's the worst that can happen? Lots of things come to mind, and most of the time none of them come to fruition. Yet fear can actually paralyze people physically as well put a halt to their lives.

Fear can keep people from taking chances. They never see their hopes and dreams come true. How sad.

Life isn't a place, it's an ongoing event. Like a train you have to hop aboard. Yet fear is packed with power and can bring life to a screeching halt.

Boundary violation is one of the biggest reasons for this behavior.

We all have boundaries. Even if one is abused, the barriers are still there - just not where they are supposed to be. Or enforced like they should be.

I looked for a definition of psychological boundaries and found several paragraphs explaining the concept. What I gleaned from my research is this: boundaries are a protective yet imaginary barrier possessed by people, like invisible armor.

Boundaries let others know where and what your comfort levels are. They let others know when they've gone too far. They illuminate those little red flags that rise up in your mind when something's not quite right.

When the barriers are breached against one's will it is considered abuse. Abuse can run the gamut from severe sexual and physical abuse all the way to subtle emotional manipulation.

Adults who were abused as children often never learn to set proper boundaries. Children aren't likely to learn about self-protection when violation is a big part of their lives.

Also, their personal integrity was so debased that boundaries can actually make the hurt worse. The less resistance, the faster it's over. Curl up in a ball and take it, the less it will hurt.

It's a paradox really. The defenses that help to protect an abused child can actually cripple them as adults.

The good news is that once this psychological defense is realized, it can be conquered. The right and reasonable defenses can be learned.

People who've sustained violated boundaries are often ridiculed and shamed because of their reluctance to action or change. There's that fear again. They often hear, "Quit being a big baby and grow up!" It's not that easy, and downright frightening for some. Sometimes fear so overwhelming that it can keep a person from life. Dreams and passions become unreachable.

It's also why some people keep choosing partners who hurt them. Or their love-lives are hit or miss at best. Their friends aren't much different.

What motivates these souls to keep choosing partners of one kind or another? Why do they keep coming back for more? I'm no expert but I believe it's love.

The desire to be loved is so strong that many souls cling to their imitation version of it. Even if they know it's not good for them. Some couldn't let go if they tried.

Why? The need for love is just as strong as the need for food, water, and shelter. So these folks keep trying, hoping each time to get it right. Sometimes they do, most often though, not.

Not until they get rid of old defenses and value themselves enough to learn new ones.

Hey, there's a new path right there.

The path to self-respect and love.

It's exciting to say the least. Not always "good" exciting, but the rewards are immeasurable. We are all worth it too.

Are you having a hard time reaching out, or taking a step forward? Can you see past the fear? Maybe it's time you checked your psychological armor.

You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Welcome! Here is the first column I sent to my editor this morning. It should be posted today or tomorrow.

I want to state for the record that unless a comment is really ugly and uncalled for I will post them. I don't care if the opinion of someone else differs from my own. I am a firm believer in Freedom of Speech and that everyone has a right to their opinions and to express them.

I also believe we can learn from others no matter how different their life experience is from our own.


Change your path and find your passions, Step One

What does it take to change your path to one that will feed the passions within you? If you ask twenty people this question you’ll get twenty different answers. But I always find that the basics are a good place to start.

Before you can know what your passions are, it makes sense to know who you are first. I’m a wife, mother, sister, aunt, writer, friend, etc. But that isn’t the whole of me.

Some folks are Sicilian, English, or Swedish - but like the above they are parts of the whole.

Liberal or Conservative? Blonde or brunette? Rap or Rock ‘N” Roll?

City or country? Blue eyes or brown eyes? Rh negative or Rh positive?

Toe-MAY-toe or Toe-MAH-toe? Poe-TAY-toe? Poe-TAH-toe?

These are all pieces that are parts people - some inborn, some choices. And they all affect what we are made of and how we live.

But even more basic is what is deep, deep inside your being.

What fills your heart? What moves your soul? Does what you live reflect this?

Are you who you say you are? Or are you who others expect you to be?

Do you believe all that is told to you? Or do you take the time and make the effort to find out for yourself?

 Can you stand on your own two feet or do you expect someone else to do it for you?

Are you willing to be completely honest with yourself? - which often includes the nasty taste of a swallowed pride.

Do you realize that change cannot take place if honesty is not part of finding the truth for yourself?

The answers you come up with might surprise you.

“Actions speak louder than words.” In all my years I have never not found this to be true. We are taught to notice this in other people, why not ourselves?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Welcome to "Sustenance for the Mind, Food for the Soul"

I have loved to write since I was a child and often kept journals, wrote stories, poetry, and even songs. Not yet realizing that composition is my forte, I went on to earn a Texas Cosmetology License, professionally decorate cakes, and graduated from Tarrant County Junior College in 1996 with a Certification in Surgical Technology.

Throughout all that writing was a constant in my life but I never considered that I could actually make money doing it.

Eventually I got married and became a mother to a son and a daughter - one thing I have wanted to do since I was a small child. Once the kids were less dependent on me I debated on going back to work as I am a Stay @ Home Mom. I definitely felt the pressure from outsiders that I should be contributing to the familial coffers - a subject already discussed between my husband and myself. Why do people feel the need to tell others how to live?
I did,  however, realize that if I want to do all the things I want to do like take my children to walk the Freedom Trail in Boston, or feast their eyes on the 2,000 year old giant Sequoia trees in California, or to even get a house with a bigger backyard, then the household income will have to increase.

My husband is retired now after 43 years at a local aircraft plant, and was willing to go back to work himself. I told him no, especially after having a heart attack, six bypasses, and a stroke. The last of those happened while on top of Pike's Peak last year while on vacation. It was mild enough to where he didn't say anything about it. (Men!!! Grrrrrrrr!!!) With the exception of weakness in his left leg, the man is thankfully, fully functional. At any rate it's my turn. And I'm looking forward to it.

Fortunately, I have had the time to develop my craft enough so that making a living as a writer of one kind or another is a very real prospect. And an exciting one too. My main desire is to write novels, but I really like this medium too.

It blows me away to think that complete strangers enjoy what I write. It's not about having faith in myself or my work, it's just different than when your friends or family read your work. I guess it's more believeable because total strangers don't have an emotional stake when they comment on a blog or a newspaper column.

I started on this journey of discovering who I am and what I'm all about after an emotional breakdown at work back in 1984.

It was at my first job doing hair; at one of those "fast food" places of salons. One Saturday I had my first experience with a customer who had a bad day and decided to take it out on me.

All I remember of it was that I ran to the one and only bathroom  in the store, locked myself in, curled up in a corner and bawled for two hours until the store closed.

I didn't know what had hit me.

Later I found out that I had little or no tools to deal with real life. I was 20 years old yet I was a child in a lot of ways. My best friend was already married and had just had her first child. What a difference!

I was told the following Monday that I needed to get psychological help or be fired. I was in such denial about so many things that I don't remember being very embarrassed or shamed about it. I just remember being bewildered.

Blame is unecessary at this point - it's my life and therefore my responsibility to make changes to it as I see fit. Besides, I'm thankful, thoroughly so. Not many people take the time and make the effort to honestly look deep inside themselves, clean out the garbage, and replace it with the stuff that should have been there in the first place.

There is no shame in this. I also found out that we should all be in a constant state of learning and growing within ourselves. We'll never be perfect, at least not in this lifetime, so there are always new things to learn. If you live to be 100 there will always be more. I've never met anyone who is 100 years old but if I ever have the privilege of doing so, I'll ask him or her. Then I'll post it here.

Anyway, that was 26 years ago. I am filled with gratitude for all I have learned and for how much I have grown. There is no doubt in my mind or heart that God Almighty lead the way. No, He can't lead if you choose to not follow, but He'll take you places that will surprise you if you make the effort.

It's been quite a ride - both good experiences and really, really bad ones too.  Either way I am a lot better off now and have much, much more to give to my children, more to be a better spouse, and friend than if I had not been down this paradoxyl and often lonely road. Lonely, yes. Alone, never.

Sit down and stay awhile. I'm glad to have you.