It didn’t start out like that.

IMG_8657I was barely seventeen when I met him.  Most of my kids are older than that now.  We were both army brats on Biggs Field in El Paso, TX.

He was tan and handsome and had amazing eyes.   I thought I could drown in his deep voice.  Life was leisure living with our parents.  We spent our days running around the desert catching  lizards, and our nights around bonfires with our friends.

Sometimes we’d play fight.  At more than a foot taller than me I didn’t stand much of a chance, but I thought I was a tough girl.  I remember my mother trying to warn me.  She said that play fighting could easily turn to real fighting and that perhaps we shouldn’t be playing so rough.  I thought that was funny.

I remember watching some domestic violence episode of Jerry Springer.  I thought those women were weak or stupid.  Why would they stay with someone that hit them?  I thought that could never be me.

I wasn’t 18 yet when we moved to Colorado.  Our fathers had gotten orders.  My parents were moving to Alaska. His parents were moving to Colorado Springs.   We knew we couldn’t bear to be parted.  He and I packed what we could into my little red 1981 Toyota Corolla Tercel and drove to Aurora, Colorado with about $400 to our name.  It was just enough to rent our first apartment.

A friend helped me get a job at a car rental place at the airport.  We took in a roommate we had known in El Paso.  A month later I was still the only one working.  We fought.  He started calling me names.  Stupid fucking fat lazy bitch.  I tried to leave.  He had disabled my car.

He begged my forgiveness and we made up.  I loved him.

He wanted to tie me to the bed with my pantyhose.  He said it would be fun.  He left me tied to the bed and went to the store.  I don’t remember how long he was gone.  It was long enough to leave me feeling humiliated.

I loved to play piano and sing.  I had brought a keyboard to Colorado with me.  He told me I was awful and embarrassing and that he wished that I would stop.  He said he loved me enough to tell me the truth.  So I stopped playing and singing.

We lost the apartment.  His parents said if he moved home and went back to school they would pay off our mistake.  So we broke up and he went home.  I stayed in Aurora living out of my trunk and couch surfing.  I made friends and we got an apartment.  I dated someone for a month that quickly ended up cheating on me.

So, to console myself, I drove to Colorado Springs and brought him back with me.  It was winter.  I turned 18.  My roommate had gotten me an ice cream cake.  He refused to come out of the bedroom.  I remember his slice slowly turning into a puddle.  He was calling for me to come back to the bedroom with him.  I just couldn’t.  Stupid fat fucking lazy bitch.

He begged my forgiveness and we made up.  I loved him.

We both got jobs at fast food and gas stations.  We were totally grown ups now.  He asked me to marry him.  I said yes.

I don’t remember why we fought.  I still make excuses I know aren’t real and don’t matter.  I say he was hungry.  We didn’t have enough money to feed him.  He burned calories faster than anyone I’ve ever seen.  We were young.  We didn’t know how to communicate.  We were both hot headed.

The play fighting had stopped being play.  Lamps were broken.  He punched holes in the walls.  He threatened to leave me.  I was naked.  I was begging him not to go.  I tried to hold on to him.  He put me in a head lock.  I remember the fight draining out of my body.  I remember the darkness closing in.  I remember thinking he was killing me.

I was on the floor.  He was tying his shoes.  I was crying.  He was walking out the door.  I was begging him not to go.  Please don’t leave me.  Please don’t leave me.  Please don’t leave me.  Please.

He begged my forgiveness and we made up.  I loved him.

IMG_8661The wedding was in a week.  My back was bruised and my fingernails were ripped and bloody from trying to push him off me.  My family was coming.

My friend helped me put on acrylic nails to cover the mess.  That stuff stings when you have to glue it to the nail bed instead of the nails.  The cut of my dress wouldn’t show the bruises.  No one could know.  They wouldn’t understand.  They would judge him.  I love him.

June 20th, 1992, torn and bruised, I married him.

Another fight.  My friend was there.  I thought being married would change him.  It hadn’t.  I was now Mrs. Stupid Fat Fucking Lazy Bitch.  I told him I was leaving the apartment and he needed to be gone before I got back or I would call the police.

Four hours later we returned to the apartment.  He was gone, but all of his stuff was still there.  The phone started ringing.  They asked for Mrs. Him.  It was the hospital.  My husband had attempted suicide by swallowing a bottle of aspirin and getting into the bathtub.  Then climbing out and calling 911.  They had pumped his stomach.

I called his parents.  I tried to tell them what was going on.  They said, “You married him.  He is your problem now.”

He begged my forgiveness and we made up.  I loved him.

Then my cousin died.  I needed to go to California to be with my family.  He needed to stay and work.

A week away from him.  The fog lifted a little.  No one was calling me names.  I wasn’t scared.  I told my mom a little bit, though certainly not the extent.  My aunt said cut and run now, more time makes harder.

When I got home, he was waiting.  He was all smiles and promises.  It was going to be better now.  He was going to be better now.   He had a gift for me.  It was jewelry.  Emerald cut blue topaz set in 18K gold.  Beautiful.  But it wasn’t enough.  I didn’t want it.  And I didn’t believe him.  I didn’t want to be the Stupid Fat Fucking Lazy Bitch anymore.

I thought this was it.  I thought it was over.  I thought this was the beginning of a new life for me.

When he left he walked across the courtyard and moved in with a friend of his.  Their balcony had a perfect view of ours.  He was sitting out there watching me. Every day I came and went and he would be there staring at me.  It was scary, but what could I do?  I enrolled in school and tried to get back to where I had left off when I met him.  It doesn’t work like that.

He kept calling.  He wanted his wife back.  One night he came knocking on the door.  I wouldn’t answer.  He wouldn’t leave.  He got angrier and was screaming through the door.   And then he was on the balcony. Beating on the glass doors.  I called the police.

Have they changed since then?  I hope so.  They came and they told me that he had every right to be in that apartment if he wanted to be.  They didn’t care about the holes he had punched in the walls and didn’t want to be part of our little dispute.

I was too scared to leave the apartment after that.  I called in sick to school and work until we all figured out I wasn’t going anymore.  Eventually his welcome with his friend wore out.  He moved back to Colorado Springs with his family and my life began to recover.

The next year my parents helped me hire a lawyer.  He told me that due to the brevity of our marriage we had a good case for an annulment.  I just had to be sure that my husband would say the right things to the judge.

I hadn’t seen him in a year.  I felt better and I guess I thought he would, too.  We had both had time to come back to our senses and get on with our lives.  I called him and told him we should meet and talk.  I made plans to drive down to Colorado Springs to have lunch with him.  He sounded really grounded and reasonable on the phone.

The day I was supposed to meet him I had a flat tire.  I didn’t want to miss this meeting, so I borrowed a spare from my neighbor.  I remember my friend standing on the tire iron tightening the lugs.

We met in a parking lot.  He was in his roommates truck.  He talked me into getting into the truck and he would drive us to lunch.  I was wary, but because of my tire I did it.  That was, of course, when the plan changed.  We had to stop by his place to check in with his roommate.  When we got there they both had a beer.  Then his roommate needed to leave with the truck.  We were going to have to hang at the apartment for a while.

Aside from beer cans the whole place was immaculate.  It hardly looked lived in.  When I went to the bathroom I could see from the door of his room the only personal item was a picture on the dresser.  It was a framed picture of us at our wedding.  I was getting a little scared.  He was having another beer.  He started telling me that he missed me.  I was his wife.  It wasn’t too late.

He begged my forgiveness.  Didn’t I still love him?

As gently as I could I stood my ground.  I said I really needed to head home.  Please, please, get me back to my car.

He said the car was a few miles away, but since we had no ride I could wait there and he would go get it.  I gave him the keys.

Two hours later he came back – without the car.  He said he realized on the way there that he was too drunk to drive.  He called his dad.  I got a ride back to my car.  Finally, I could breathe.

No one hung around to watch me leave.   My car door was unlocked and the seat was slid all the way back.  The mirrors were all adjusted.  I knew he had been at the car.  My heart was racing.  I popped the hood to see if he had tampered with anything.   Was I just being paranoid?  I didn’t see anything amiss.

I made the hour drive up over Monument and back to Aurora.  I was relieved to be back.  I knew that except for a court date I didn’t need to see him again.  I had friends over that night so we weren’t surprised when there was a knock on the door.  It was him and his roommate.  Who knows how much more they had to drink that day.  They said they were checking to see if I made it home ok.  Of course I had.  Why wouldn’t I have?  They weren’t invited in and thankfully didn’t stick around.

The next day when my neighbor went to take his spare tire back all the lugs came off with a single twist of his fingers.

I wanted to pass it off as coincidence.  But the late night road trip to see if I had made it home ok was too much to ignore.  Would this ever be over?  I was tired of being scared.

As it turns out it was mostly over.  We had our day in court and had our brief marriage annulled. He showed up in my life in little ways for a while – like partying with a roommate and sleeping with her and calling up my parents trying to track me down.

Just a few years ago his current wife contacted me on Facebook.  She said she was throwing him a big birthday party and was hoping I could provide some significant dates for a “This Is Your Life” slide show he was planning.  For several days I stared at that message trying to summon some way to respond and decline without venom.  Before I could manage that I got a message that said, “I guess everything they have said about you is true.”  I blocked her.

Being scared never completely ended though.  When I see a man with his build on the street I nearly shrink into my floorboard.  I’m still embarrassed and I feel the blame and the shame of letting that happen to me.  It doesn’t matter how logically I approach it – I feel that.  Telling me I shouldn’t doesn’t help.  It adds one more layer of guilt and shame for what I shouldn’t be doing.

I wonder if his next wife (or the next one) or his daughters have suffered at his hand.  I wonder if there is something that I should have or even could have done to prevent that.  I wonder if getting support or joining a group would have helped me at all.  It might have.  But I don’t remember thinking that I was a battered woman while it was going on.  I’ll bet that most women in the middle of it can’t see it clearly for what it is.

I spent several more years cycling in and out of really abusive relationships before I took a long enough break to learn how to love myself.  I survived.  I am in an amazing place in my life now.  It’s possible to change your stars.

Relationships don’t start out terrible.  People don’t typically lead with their fists.  If you think that you may have ended up in an abusive relationship there is help.  In many communities, including mine, A Woman’s Place is serving that purpose.  They have help for those suffering abuse of many kinds besides physical including verbal abuse and stalking, and they serve women, men, transgender, nongender conforming people and families who have experienced domestic abuse.  Find them here: http://www.awpdv.org/

If you don’t need them perhaps you could help their mission.  On the website there is a link for cash donations as well as lists of items that are most needed in their shelters.
http://www.awpdv.org/donate.html

And don’t think that it can’t happen to you.  Or that these women are dumb.  Or that they want it if they don’t leave him.  It’s crazy to wake up one day and see the slow and lazy spiral that dragged you into a place you never thought you’d be.  It’s hard to seek help when you are ashamed and embarrassed.  It’s almost impossible to fathom that you might not make it out of this relationship alive.

Because it didn’t start out like that.  It never does.

 

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Posted in Autobiographical, Writing

28 Days

4 weeks ago I had a heart attack.  I suffered an actual myocardial infarction. I am a 42 year old woman.  I am 5’4″ tall and weigh 150 pounds.  I had high cholesterol in my twenties and corrected it with a low carb lifestyle and exercise that I have continued over the last 15 years.  I smoked for 17 years, but I quit 7 years ago.

5 years ago my partner Bryan asked me to go to the doctor.  I had developed a level of fatigue that worried him.  I went to the doctor and was told that this was normal for the mother of a small child.

2 years ago I began suffering intermittent chest pain, palpitations, and episodes of blood pressure that they refer to as paroxysmal hypertension.  It’s rare enough that they tested me for pheochromocytoma twice.

1 year ago I went to the emergency room three nights in a row.  I was given ativan in the ER.  I told Bryan it was to shut me up.  They sent me home with a prescription for xanax and a diagnosis of panic attacks.  I’ve had panic attacks that felt nothing like what was happening to me.  No one would listen.

4 weeks ago, on an airplane between Seattle and Denver, returning from a 2 week trip to visit my parents in Alaska, I had a burning pain in my chest that had been coming and going for several days.  Since the doctors had insisted there was nothing wrong with my heart, I breathed my way through it as it radiated down my left arm and up the left side of my face. My brain was screaming, “Holy shit, I’m having a heart attack!”  But I didn’t think anyone would believe me.  And I didn’t want to scare my six year old sleeping in the seat beside me.  My whole world closed down to a single goal, to put my daughter into the arms of her father.

I breathed and the pain subsided again.  The plane landed and I gathered our things.  I made it through the terminal, and the train, and up the escalator to Bryan.  I dropped everything at his feet and told him I couldn’t go any further.  I needed to go to the doctor.

At Urgent Care they did an EKG.  It was normal.  I’ve still never had an abnormal EKG.  They told me that they were sending me for blood work at the hospital lab, but didn’t expect to see anything so I should just head home and they would call me.

Half way home I received the call from a panicked doctor telling me to return to the hospital and head straight to the ER.

I had a heart attack.

I am not crazy.  They made me think that I was and it almost killed me.

I am a 42 year old woman who looks remarkably healthy, and I had a heart attack.

I have so much more to tell you.  Let’s start here.  If you think that there is something wrong you aren’t crazy.   “Anxiety” is a symptom as often as it’s a condition. If you think you are having a heart attack don’t let them send you home without running all the appropriate tests.  Troponin levels, to begin with, which don’t elevate until 6 to 12 hours after the attack.  This is important to remember.  Women are not treated as aggressively as men.  We have to advocate for ourselves until that changes.  Let’s start here by sharing the information.  I’m gathering more to pass along.

Happy 4 weeks to me.  Tomorrow is never promised.  Live and love every moment.

Xoxo S.L.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Essential Ken Wilber

“I looked, and looked, and this I came to see:
That what I thought was you and you,
Was really me and me.”
~ Ken Wilber ~

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Brian Johnson’s PhilosophersNotes have been one of the key tools in my own personal development and discovery of joy and gratitude in my life.  Click the banner below and check out his free audio samples – especially The Four Agreements – even if you have read it, being able to relive the key points in that book while you are driving to work is a great gift.

PhilosophersNotes - More Wisdom in Less Time

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The Essential Ken Wilber

The Essential Ken WilberFrom Amazon:
Ever since the publication of his first book, The Spectrum of Consciousness, written when he was twenty-three, Ken Wilber has been identified as the most comprehensive philosophical thinker of our times. This introductory sampler, designed to acquaint newcomers with his work, contains brief passages from his most popular books, ranging over a variety of topics, including levels of consciousness, mystical experience, meditation practice, death, the perennial philosophy, and Wilber’s integral approach to reality, integrating matter, body, mind, soul, and spirit. Here is Wilber’s writing at its most reader-friendly, discussing essential ideas of the world’s great psychological, philosophical, and spiritual traditions in language that is lucid, engaging, and inspirational.

More on The Essential Ken Wilber at Amazon

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Who is Ken Wilber?

Ken WilberFrom IntegralLife.com:
According to Jack Crittenden Ph.D., author of Beyond Individualism, “the twenty-first century literally has three choices: Aristotle, Nietzsche, or Ken Wilber.”  If you haven’t already heard of him, Ken Wilber is one of the most important philosophers in the world today.  He is the most widely translated academic writer in America, with 25 books translated into some 30 foreign languages.  Ken Wilber currently lives in Denver, Colorado, and is still active as a philosopher, author, and teacher, with all of his major publications still in print.

 Continue reading about Ken Wilber at IntegralLife.com

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My Thoughts

graysweater

“I looked, and looked, and this I came to see: 
That what I thought was you and you, 
Was really me and me.”
~ Ken Wilber ~

Of all the quotes from Ken Wilber lingering on the internet, this is the only one I found that made me think perhaps he was channeling Dr. Seuss.

There are so many thoughts that come from Ken Wilber’s work I’m finding it hard to write about.  I think the most important thing that I’ve gleaned from all this is that we cannot take an experience that has formed us and exclude it from who we are now.  Whatever we have been, done, or experienced – good or bad – is part of who we are.  We don’t have to (and probably shouldn’t) dwell on them, but we shouldn’t run from them either.

Who are you now?

Now?

Now?

Now?

Every individual moment is unique and complete.

I come back to the place of total compassionate forgiveness.  All of the things that I have done in my life that I wish I hadn’t?  That slate is wiped clean.  I give myself a hug and reassurance that the Universe doesn’t cling to what I did a moment ago.  It is transformed by every moment and moves into something new and as infinitely wondrous as it was before that moment.  It doesn’t revisit that moment, judge it, or try to change it.  It just absorbs exactly what comes and grows on.

Thank you for your gracious ear.

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Spread the Word

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Posted in Philosophy

Creative Mind and Success by Ernest Shurtleff Holmes

Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.
~ Ernest Shurtleff Holmes ~

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Brian Johnson’s PhilosophersNotes have been one of the key tools in my own personal development and discovery of joy and gratitude in my life.  Click the banner below and check out his free audio samples – especially The Four Agreements – even if you have read it, being able to relive the key points in that book while you are driving to work is a great gift.

PhilosophersNotes - More Wisdom in Less Time

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The Book: Creative Mind and Success

Creative Mind and Success at AmazonFrom Amazon:
Creative Mind and Success written by legendary author Ernest Shurtleff Holmes is widely considered to be one of the top 100 greatest books of all time. This great classic will surely attract a whole new generation of readers. For many, Creative Mind and Success is required reading for various courses and curriculums. And for others who simply enjoy reading timeless pieces of classic literature, this gem by Ernest Shurtleff Holmes is highly recommended. Published by Classic House Books and beautifully produced, Creative Mind and Success would make an ideal gift and it should be a part of everyone’s personal library.

More about Creative Mind and Success at Amazon

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Who is Ernest Shurtleff Holmes?

From Wikipedia:
Ernest Shurtleff Holmes (January 21, 1887 – April 7, 1960) was an American spiritual writer, teacher, and leader. He was the founder of a Spiritual movement known as Religious Science, a part of the greater New Thought movement, whose spiritual philosophy is known as “The Science of Mind.” He was the author of The Science of Mind and numerous other metaphysical books, and the founder of Science of Mind magazine, in continuous publication since 1927. His books remain in print, and the principles he taught as “Science of Mind” have inspired and influenced many generations of metaphysical students and teachers.

 More about Ernest Shurtleff Holmes at Wikipedia

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My Thoughts

graysweaterIn principle the great religions of the world
do not differ as much as they appear to.
~ Ernest Shurtleff Holmes ~

When I was five years old I told my mother that I thought all the religions were worshiping the same God, and that “He” didn’t care what you called him.  You could call “Him” Bob and “He” would be okay with that.  Over a lifetime I’ve been repeatedly blessed by exposure to others that believe the same.  Regardless the name you give the divine – it is the same energy – and you are not separate from it.  You are part of Bob.  You don’t have to believe that for it to be true.

Understanding that we are all one with each other connected by the divine force of the Universe some call God – this is where success is found according to Ernest Holmes.  Once we realize that our unique expression of divine energy is a gift to the world and understand the value in our unique selves – we achieve success in that moment.

You are already enough.  You are already a success.  You are an amazing beautiful miracle of creation.  You don’t have to believe that for it to be true.

Thank you for your gracious ear.

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Spread the Word

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Posted in Philosophy

The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky

“Nothing in life is as important as you think it is
while you are thinking about it.”
~ Sonja Lyubomirsky ~

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Brian Johnson’s PhilosophersNotes have been one of the key tools in my own personal development and discovery of joy and gratitude in my life.  Click the banner below and check out his free audio samples – especially The Four Agreements – even if you have read it, being able to relive the key points in that book while you are driving to work is a great gift.

PhilosophersNotes - More Wisdom in Less Time

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 The How of Happiness

The How of Happiness by Sonja LyubomirskyFrom Amazon:
You see here a different kind of happiness book. The How of Happiness is a comprehensive guide to understanding the elements of happiness based on years of groundbreaking scientific research. It is also a practical, empowering, and easy-to-follow workbook, incorporating happiness strategies, exercises in new ways of thinking, and quizzes for understanding our individuality, all in an effort to help us realize our innate potential for joy and ways to sustain it in our lives. Drawing upon years of pioneering research with thousands of men and women, The How of Happiness is both a powerful contribution to the field of positive psychology and a gift to people who have sought to take their happiness into their own hands.

More about The How of Happiness at Amazon

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Who is Sonja Lyubomirsky?

sonja-lyubomirskySonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside. Originally from Russia, she received her A.B., summa cum laude, from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in Social/Personality Psychology from Stanford University. Lyubomirsky currently teaches courses in social psychology and positive psychology and serves as the Department of Psychology’s graduate advisor. Her teaching and mentoring of students have been recognized with the Faculty of the Year and Faculty Mentor of the Year Awards.

More about Sonja Lyubomirsky at thehowofhappiness.com

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My Thoughts

graysweaterRecently the concept of prosperity was defined in my daily team meeting as a combination of health, wealth, and happiness.  So when Brian Johnson answered the question “why be happy?” this morning, “because it leads to increased health and wealth” it put a real smile on my face.  Nowhere did he use the word prosperity, but understanding the goal as a single concept, well, I can’t help buy hear Spock in my head, “Live long and prosper.”

This video is a super quick look at an awesome book filled with really effective steps to increase our happiness, and why these steps work.  I’ve listened to the audio for this complete note from Brian Johnson’s collection more times than I can count – any time I need a reminder.  And over the years since I began listening I’ve implemented most of the 12 recommended happiness activities with great success in my life.

If you enjoy the video I highly recommend visiting Entheos and getting the full collection of PhilosophersNotes as well as purchasing The How of Happiness.

Come on get happy.  Can you hear it?  Lol.

Thank you for your gracious ear.

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Posted in Philosophy

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

When you arise in the morning,
think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive –
to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.
~ Marcus Aurelius ~

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Brian Johnson’s PhilosophersNotes have been one of the key tools in my own personal development and discovery of joy and gratitude in my life.  Click the banner below and check out his free audio samples – especially The Four Agreements – even if you have read it, being able to relive the key points in that book while you are driving to work is a great gift.

PhilosophersNotes - More Wisdom in Less Time

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 Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Meditations by Marcus AureliusFrom Amazon:
A new translation of the philosophical journey that has inspired luminaries from Matthew Arnold to Bill Clinton

Written by an intellectual Roman emperor, the Meditations offer a wide range of spiritual reflections developed as the leader struggled to understand himself and the universe. Marcus Aurelius covers topics as diverse as the question of virtue, human rationality, the nature of the gods, and his own emotions, spanning from doubt and despair to conviction and exaltation.

More about Meditations at Amazon

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Who was Marcus Aurelius?

Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus; 26 April, 121 AD – 17 March, 180 AD), was a Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. He ruled with Lucius Verus as co-emperor from 161 until Verus’ death in 169. He was the last of the Five Good Emperors, and is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers.

Marcus Aurelius’ Stoic tome Meditations, written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, is still revered as a literary monument to a philosophy of service and duty, describing how to find and preserve equanimity in the midst of conflict by following nature as a source of guidance and inspiration.

More on Marcus Aurelius at Wikipedia

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My Thoughts

S.L.HurlockAccept the things to which fate binds you,
and love the people with whom fate brings you together,
but do so with all your heart.

~ Marcus Aurelius ~

Some days the whole world seems to be infected with the idea that the grass is greener elsewhere.  The messages from the TV, billboards  and radio all suggest that we are lacking.  That we should be wanting more. More.  MORE!

The truth of the matter, as it has occurred in my life, over and over again is that – if anything is lacking it is within me.  Changing my car, my house, or my romantic partner has never yielded any results on its own.  Changing the color or cut of my hair has never changed the way I feel for more than a passing moment.

Changing my heart and my mind and understanding that I can choose to be grateful for every breath I take .  The people in my life, regardless of their demeanor in any moment, are the ones that I have arrived before.  I can choose to love them in that moment and let them be as they are, or I can run from every challenge until I’m gasping for air.

Being in the stillness of now, and really appreciating that we are all part of a greater whole, loving myself in this moment is the same as loving everyone.  Loving my child, and my partner, my crazy dog, and my noisy neighbor next door – this is the opportunity I have been given in this moment to be the light.

I choose to shine now, wherever I find myself, rather than waiting in darkness.

Thank you for your gracious ear.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Does The Messenger Matter?

“What we’re all working on is this very being, this very life.
This is the temple, it has no walls.”
~Genpo Roshi~

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Brian Johnson’s PhilosophersNotes have been one of the key tools in my own personal development and discovery of joy and gratitude in my life.  Click the banner below and check out his free audio samples – especially The Four Agreements – even if you have read it, being able to relive the key points in that book while you are driving to work is a great gift.PhilosophersNotes - More Wisdom in Less Time

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 The Book

Big Mind Big HeartBig Mind employs a Jungian voice dialogue technique that enables people to step out of limited self-concepts into awareness of their many different sub-selves (emotions/mental states). In addition to exploration of the more familiar sub-voices like anger and fear, author Zen Master Dennis Genpo Merzel uses this technique to help people access the ever-present Big Mind/Big Heart awareness – the clear, “just being” awareness and the unconditional compassion that we all can experience. The Big Mind process is now available in book form to bring readers of all backgrounds many benefits including: access to our innate wisdom, compassion and equanimity; openness of mind and ability to shift perspectives; greater presence and empowerment; and appreciation for the wisdom within all of our many sub-selves even ones we tend to dislike or disown, like fear and anger.

More about Big Mind Big Heart at Amazon

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Who is Genpo Roshi?

Who is Genpo Roshi?From his first awaking in 1971, Genpo Merzel’s life has been about waking up to our essential nature, our True Self.  For the past forty years since then his purpose and his passion have remained the same: to deepen his own clarity and to assist others to awaken and realize their true nature.

A champion swimmer and All-American water polo player in his youth, Merzel received a Master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Southern California in 1968, and left his careers as a school teacher and lifeguard after his awakening and lived alone for a year in a rustic cabin deep in the mountains near San Luis Obispo

Continue reading about Dennis Genpo Merzel at his website
Big Mind: Change Your Perspective Change Your Life.

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My Thoughts

Now I take a moment to practice releasing judgement. Dennis Merzel has proven himself to be as human as we all are.  Forgiveness is practiced daily for people that operate outside of social norms and are less than honest in their personal dealings.  Often well respected teachers and leaders are less palatable when we know them personally.  I can remember thinking this way about my father.  How people seemed to adore him while I couldn’t be in the same room with him.  While the situation has changed with my father, and he is now one of my closest friends and most trusted confidants – I can still see how it is easier to accept wisdom from someone that we don’t know.

So, at the Wikipedia entry on this teacher there is a more than an unbalanced amount of information regarding Dennis Merzel’s sexual interactions with students and marital issues.  I ask, how important is this really?  Several years ago I realized that messages have little to do with the messenger.  We may receive it differently, or refuse to receive it, based on the messenger.  But it has little to do with the message.

I’m telling you all of this today because I was taken by surprise by the information on Wikipedia, and my first instinct was to choose a different book for today.  I was going to take this post and get rid of it – as if the message was no longer worthwhile because the actions of the messenger were in question.  That, however, is not the person that I want to be.

I would ask that you and I see clearly, and apply this to others in our lives when we find ourselves rejecting a message because of our feelings about the person.  Listen to the message.  You will know in your heart whether or not it resonates.  Ask yourself if the message is one of love or fear.  Receive the messages that come from love regardless of the messenger.  The Universe, God, the forces of light and love, may choose to send us messages in forms that contain greater lessons than we perceive at the onset.

Thank you for your gracious ear.

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Posted in inspiration, Philosophy, Working From Home
No Guts…No Story
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ~ Sylvia Plath
Sasha Lynn


Dreamer
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