Monthly Archives: September 2016

Conflict Resolution-Letters to My Daughter

“Peace is not the absence of conflict but the ability to cope with it.”

My Dearest Daughter,

You recently witnessed someone being unkind to me and we had a conversation about it which I think is worth noting so that you can refer back to it later in life when it might be of service to you.

Daughter: Mommy, I wish you would have defended yourself.

Mother: There was nothing to defend. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. I’m not in the business of policing people’s opinions about me.

Daughter: But it wasn’t nice and it wasn’t true. If you don’t defend yourself how will people know that?

Mother: I know the truth. You know the truth. Daddy knows the truth. These are the people who matter most to me. No matter what we say or do, there is no guarantee that we will change anyone’s opinion. It takes a lot of time, energy, and work to try and change someone and I neither have the resources nor interest. People do not have to share the same vision in order to share the same space. I think it’s more important to find a way to live with differences of opinion than to try to make everyone believe the same thing in order to get along.

Daughter: But doesn’t it bother you that someone is thinking something negative of you?

Mother: A little. It’s hurtful. But it’s not my truth so it’s not my burden to carry. Negative thoughts are burdens we carry. It’s our choice how many burdens we want to carry by how many things we view as negative in life.

Daughter: So that’s it? You aren’t going to fight back or defend yourself? You’re just going to do nothing?

Mother: There are times when speaking up or using action against the person who caused harm is important. In my opinion, this is not one of those times. The action I am taking is mindfulness. I am being mindful of the pain and confusion the person felt in order to lash out. The action I am taking is kindness and compassion for that person and for myself by walking away.

“Once you discover your true worth, walking away from where you are not valued will become the easiest hard thing you will ever do.”

The art of mediation is having a practice of mindfulness around strong emotions so that when they come about we can have presence of mind to be with them instead of being in reactive mode and lashing out at others. It’s not always possible to be in mindfulness and not go into reactive mode, which is why it’s called a “practice.” Do your best, that’s all you can do. As your great-paternal grandmother on Daddy’s side would say, “ Angels couldn’t do better.” As of 2016, I have been practicing this art for 30 years, I am still a mere student.

The practice is to help us remember that not everything we feel deserves a reaction. There are many things I feel each day about the people and places around me. I hold a lot of space for the pain of others. I choose to do this. When it becomes too much. I choose not to. And so it goes. These are internal choices. I don’t need to announce them to the world or to the person for whom I am holding energy. This is how I take care of myself and my needs. I give what I can, when I can and when I can’t, I don’t. Instead, I do what I need to in order to refuel so that I can continue to give.

I can see that it’s important to you to see that I “do something.” In that regard, I’m going to write. I’m going to process the pain. I’m going to take my focus off the hurtful person and put my focus on people and places which bring me joy. In this way, I’m going to move on. This is me doing something without getting reactive and combative. This is me doing my best to stay in loving kindness and compassion.

If my entire life were a container of salt, this particular experience wouldn’t even be a whole grain of salt; it would be an imperceptible amount that couldn’t even been seen by the naked eye. One of the first steps in resolving conflict is to adjust it to it’s proper size. We neither want to minimize or exaggerate our feelings or the feelings other’s have about us. We want to see them for what they are in the moment. We want to remember that what we put our focus on grows and what we give space to decreases.

When people declare a belief, they are usually declaring a feeling because most beliefs are actually just feelings that can be colored by internal and external factors which are always in flux. People define feelings as beliefs because that’s what serves them in the moment. But the moment changes and feelings change. Feelings aren’t facts. I can’t afford to take personal attacks personally. I’m tired. I’m in pain. Life is short. As your maternal great-grandmother would say, “Pick your battles.” A person or a battle can be worth fighting for, that doesn’t mean you have the resources it takes to fight. Sometimes you just have to let it be.

Daughter: What is a battle worth fighting for?

Mother: That’s a good question. It’s very personal. It will change many times over in the course of your life. The battles aren’t as significant as the way in which you choose to handle them. As I see it, there are three main ways of conflict resolution: The Victim Path, The Therapy Path and The Enlightened Path.

The Victim Path
When you are a child, you feel helpless, as if everyone is more powerful than you. From a child’s perspective, if you don’t fight, then you have lost, you are a victim. There are real victims who stay silent and don’t fight and act like everything is fine because they are afraid of being abandoned. They want everyone to like them and so they apologize for everything and ingratiate themselves onto everyone and never speak up for fear of upsetting others who will then leave them.

For God’s sake child, let these people leave you! Do not apologize for who you are. Neither defend or deny your truth just because someone else is bothered by it. Don’t be a people pleaser, if you are, you will never know who your true friends are. I hope you will never be a victim. You don’t have to fight but you also don’t have to stay. I don’t want you to spend a single second with anyone who doesn’t appreciate you. There are people who really love you, and know you, and see you, and get you for who you are; these are your people! Anyone who doesn’t is either being triggered by their own stuff which will pass, or isn’t the right friend for you. Trust me, Let. Them. Go. For every negative experience I have learned to let go of in my life, five positive ones have taken it’s place.

“The moment you feel like you have to prove your worth to someone is the moment to absolutely and utterly walk away.” -Alyesa Harris

The Therapy Path
Later in life, you learn skills and tools for conflict resolution. You use “I” statements and express your feelings. For example, you say to the person that you felt hurt by, “When you do ______ it makes me feel _______.” Then they mirror that back to you to make you feel heard, “I heard you say that when I do _______ it makes you feel________.” From there, you go on to listen and really hear how your actions make other people feel and visa versa. While this can be useful in certain situations with certain people, it’s really exhausting. I’ve been there, done that, may have to resort to it again, but for the most part, would rather not.

When you decide to find conflict resolution by discussing or talking about the problem, you are essentially entering an agreement to assign mutual blame to another person’s words or actions. This method of conflict resolution can also make you feel responsible for other people’s feelings. This is something I’m not fully in favor of. While I think it’s important to always consider the feelings of others, how someone else feels is always their responsibility.

On the therapy path what often happens is that a power play ensues between the one who has already moved on and the one who can’t let go. It feels like a never ending cycle of mental and spiritual depletion. The therapy path can also be a slippery slope, rabbit hole that once you go down, only gets deeper and deeper.

My feeling is that if I love someone unconditionally, there are a certain number of flaws I am willing to over look. Unless they abuse me, I’m not likely to leave. I just deal with it when I can and get busy doing something else when I can’t. Successful relationships are based as much on learning to let things go as they are on all the fun and wonderful things you might share in common.

But for some people, there is no over-looking a blemish. They see it, they pick at it, either it festers or it goes away and they feel powerful and in control when they can make something disappear that they don’t want to look at. I don’t think these are healthy people to spend too much time with. They will always find fault with you. They are not happy and therefore being wth them is more work that pleasure. Be kind to them but perhaps from a distance.

The Enlightened Path
Now, by no means do I feel that I am an enlightened being. This could just as easily be called: The Path for the Old, Sick and Tired. For brevity and aesthetic sake, I will continue calling it, The Enlightened Path. On the enlightened path, you engage with yourself and others with mindful awareness. You make adjustments in the moment. When you find someone upsetting to be around, you have options. You can just observe what’s coming up and let it pass without action. Or you can use it as an opportunity to explore what it is in that person that you find upsetting that’s really a reflection of you. Usually, anything that upsets us in another is something that upsets us in ourself for it’s easier for us to find faults in others than it is to accept faults in ourselves. You observe and you move on. You don’t feed into the reaction you are having and the desire to control the other person so that you aren’t being triggered and going into reactive mode.

On the enlightened path, you observe and choose to take action or let it be. But the action you take is usually with yourself, an adjustment you make within, not an outward request to another. Our problems are not as much with the people around us, as they are within us and how we perceive the people around us. Every person has flaws. We cannot go around telling other people about their flaws, hoping they will change, in order to make our life easier. That’s a Princess or Queen mentality; a belief that the world revolves around you. My personal world may revolve around you, my darling daughter, but the world in general does not revolve around you or anyone else who stomps their feet and points their fingers and wants others to stop being who they are. It’s not the job of others to change in order to make you feel more comfortable. It’s your job to change yourself to be more comfortable with others. By “change yourself,” I mean, to either examine, accept or walk away from that which makes you uncomfortable.

On the surface, the enlightened path can look like the victim path, because there is little to no outward action. The difference is in how those two paths feel when you take them. If you do not feel empowered, then you are in victim mode, taking the Victim Path. If you feel at peace with your choice, then you are on the Enlightened Path. It’s not the action that matters as much as how it feels to take that action.

My life experience has taught me the dichotomy of life: people rarely change and yet the only constant thing in life is change. Your time is best invested in your own ability to change not in wanting or trying to change others.

Conflict resolution can be simple. People make it difficult because they like to fight, to engage in battle. The act of fighting makes some people feel empowered, especially if they feel out of control. But like energy vampires, they will drain your life battery and all your energy if you enter into that sort of engaging with them. Only you will know what you need to do and it will change depending on circumstance and person. For me, at this stage in my life, I am not interested in engaging around conflict unless I absolutely must.

There is a type of engagement on the enlightened path but it requires that both people come to the table with loving speech, a willingness to listen deeply and a desire to truly communicate. My belief around this is that if a person were capable of that, then conflict resolution wouldn’t be an issue, no conflict would have been created in the first place. Loving speech leads to loving action. But some people indulge in their impulses to be reactive in anger and blame and lash out and then they want to put on their spiritual costume and act as if they can resolve conflict peacefully. Don’t buy into that. It’s an unintentional ego trap and it will drain you.

“Be careful with your words. Once they are said, they can be only forgiven, not forgotten.”

Spiritual people are flawed but they are consistent with their practice and intent. It’s unlikely that you would have someone who is actually capable of loving speech, who practices loving speech, suddenly instigate a conflict by saying something unkind in a reactive mode; but it can and does happen because no one is perfect.

Do not judge people by who they wish they were, say they are, think they are, or who you think they are or want them to be. Release judgment and employ real-time discernment instead. Know that sometimes even the most loving people falter. If they are truly on a spiritual path, they will bring themselves into check on their own. They will apologize. They will let it go. They will move on.

But if you are dealing with someone who is very attached to ego, they will want to fight, discuss, hash it out and will have a very challenging time letting it go.

“A man asked Gautama Buddha, ‘I want happiness.’ Buddha said, ‘First remove I, that’s ego. Then remove want, that’s desire. See now you are left with only happiness.’ ” -Gautama Buddha

Please don’t engage. Your life force is too precious to waste it in this way. Just allow some gentle distance to flow between you and the other person and let time heal the situation.

If that doesn’t work, you have three choices:

1. Learn to live with it. Accept it. Let it go. Move on.

2. Stop engaging with the person and move on.

3. Engage and move on.

Since they all end with moving on, I suggest taking the path of least resistance, the vast majority of the time, which is #1.

I usually reserve #3 for survival mode situations that involve our health, home, etc.

It’s that simple.

When you see Mommy walk away, trust that I am at peace. I may be hurt but the hurt will pass. There are other times, when you see me speak up and fight, like around your medical needs; because only your medical needs or our survival needs are what I deem worthy, at this time, to use my energy for in regard to conflict resolution that requires the other party to be present.

You have seen Daddy and I argue and work out minor issues. Sometimes it’s quick and painless, other times it’s angry and hurtful but we have learned during those times that we are not our best selves because we are tired or compromised in some way. But, because our love is unconditional, you have always seen us come back to each other, point out where we went wrong, not where the other person went wrong, and apologize. That’s what unconditional love does.

If the person you are having conflict with is not engaging with you from a place of unconditional love, I still invite you to continue to come from a place of unconditional loving kindness. Allow space to breathe between you and this other person but when your paths cross, remain open, accessible, authentic, loving and kind.

Your trust may have been breached or betrayed and the relationship may go through a period of redefinition or it may end. Whatever happens, let go, let it be, release attachment and raise your vibration to grace. This is all you can do. I trust that you will work out your hurt on your own and lay down your anger and blame; emotions that only harm you and your health.

There are many ways to handle conflict resolution. Do not assume that when Mommy or someone else walks away and chooses not to engage that they are playing victim. Sometimes, they are simply choosing the enlightened path, AKA, The Path for the Old, Sick and Tired.

From The Butterfly Quotation Box: “Words are made for certain exactness of thought, as tears are for a certain degree of pain. What is least distinct cannot be named; what is clearest is unutterable.” –Rene Daumal

 

 

 

 

(Quotes are given credit whenever credit can be found. Sometimes they are from internet memes, fortune cookies, or random discoveries.)

Truth, Kindness, and Trust-Letters to My Daughter

My Luv,

There is no truth, only perception.

A truth not based in fact is merely a story we tell ourselves. The fault in the stories we tell ourselves and others is that every story has at least two sides and the vast majority of the time we only hear or tell one of those sides. Each side of a story is only a half truth and as the old Yiddish saying goes, “A half truth is a whole lie.”

There are varied perceptions of truth and then there are facts. People use fact as a synonym for truth but they rarely use the same yard stick to measure truth as they do to measure facts.

You cannot be truthful without facts, but you can always be honest. Honesty is the act of telling your personal truth. But, before we can be honest in telling our truth, we have to ask ourselves, “Is this true?” Is whatever you are about to say, true? How do we discern if something is true? Through facts not feelings. If we have a feeling about an experience, that alone does not equate a truth. Feelings are not facts.

Therefore, when we tell someone that we are going to be honest with them, and our honesty is not based on factual findings, we should do so with the awareness that what we are about to say could be false and it could also be hurtful. If you want to be honest with someone, do so with the humility that you could be wrong and with the kindness that you are taking their feelings into consideration, not just your own.

There is no truth without kindness and no kindness without truth.

I like truth. I like honesty. I also like kindness.

Kindness:

Kindness matters more to me than just about anything, because for me it incorporates truth, integrity, honesty, trust, and love. Kindness is sensitivity, it is compassion. When I was pregnant with you I prayed for only two things: That you would be healthy and that you would be kind. I am so very grateful and proud to say that you are the kindest person I have ever known.

Your heart weeps for the sadness in others and celebrates even the most minimal observations worth acknowledging. You never miss an opportunity to be kind. You compliment everyone from a sincere place of reflecting the beauty that you see in them. I am in awe of your kind heart. You my darling daughter, have always had a kind word for every person who has crossed your path.

Being a kind person is looking for opportunities to lift the spirits of others through honest expression with loving words. Kindness is nurturing the light within so much so, that it can’t help but shine out unto the rest of the world.

Kindness is being thoughtful, considerate, generous, and a gracious host who shows hospitality. Kindness is benevolence and altruism, it’s the act of being charitable and magnanimous. When we are kind to others, we are being kind to ourselves. kindness is the best soul food on the planet.

Kindness can also be a form of manner and politeness, but it should never be confused as being submissive or subservient. Any person who mistakes kindness for weakness is nothing less than a fool. Remember this, my daughter, “A wise {wo}man can learn more from a fool than a fool from a wise {wo}man.” Your kindness makes you strong. Let those who think otherwise…think otherwise. It’s not your concern when someone has a belief about you be it true or false; that’s not your cross to bear, it’s theirs. Your own beliefs are your only burden and other people’s beliefs about you are their burden.

Kindness is warmth, a gentle hug, a comforting hand upon a sulking shoulder. To be kind is to care about another person’s heart. To be kind is to be helpful, to open a door for someone who can’t easily do so on their own, to make eye contact with someone with a disability and smile, to be friendly to a person providing service. Kindness is reflecting all the beauty and goodness you see in others. It’s being a cheerleader and a support system.

Kindness cost nothing and yet is priceless. It’s what makes the world a place I want to be a part of. An act of kindness can change the course of another person’s life forever. I truly believe that all we leave behind in this world once we are dead and gone are the acts of kindness we have given to others.

“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” -Henry James

Kindness matters. When someone has an opportunity to act with kindness and chooses not to, it tells you everything you need to know about who they are and at what distance you should hold them.

The greatest challenge with kindness is that sometimes you have to choose between being kind to someone else or being kind to yourself. This struggle always breaks my heart. I can’t instruct you on when to put others before yourself and when to put yourself above others, as it will vary. I can only say, my dearest daughter, SPEAK. YOUR. TRUTH! Speak it with kindness, fact check your truth and trust yourself. The only sword a kind woman carries is her truth, don’t be afraid to use it.

Trust:

“Whether it’s a friendship or [a] relationship, all bonds are built on trust. Without it, you have nothing.”

Trust is an odd concept. It is not an absolute. It waxes and wanes even amongst the most trust worthy. You can trust various people to various degrees for various time periods. I have found however, that the only true trust comes from someone who loves you unconditionally and with that unconditional love comes a loyalty.

The problem is that very few people are capable of unconditional love, especially if they have an ego that wounds easily. People who have control issues and low self-worth, are often working very diligently to create an image of themselves for others that will reflect worthiness back to them. If they think you see them as anything less than perfect, it crushes them. It’s as if you are saying they are evil.

“Relationships never dies a natural death… They are murdered by Ego, Attitude and ignorance.”

I see all people as flawed and fabulous but some people can’t bear to have their flaws seen, even if they are impossible to hide, even if you show them yours. If you place your trust with someone like this, they will betray you the first moment they think that you think less of them then they expect you to. There’s this old book called, “What You Think of Me is None of My Business.” It should be required reading for a healthy psyche, especially for people with low self-worth.

“I do not trust people who don’t love themselves and yet tell me, ‘I love you.’ There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.” -Maya Angelou

Sometimes you don’t know how much of a hot mess someone is until their hot mess has burned you. Not every lion befriends the mouse that removes the thorn. Some lions nurse their pain and feed the anger and resentment that their pain causes them by lashing out at their nearest and dearest.

The simplest advice I can give you about discerning who you can and can’t trust is this: trust your intuition and know that people will disappoint you. When they do, cut your losses and move on. If they betray your trust once, they will do it again and again in a million tiny paper cut ways that can lead to infections that take years to heal. No one is perfect but betrayl is beyond imperfection, it will wound you and leave a scar. Avoid it if you can.

“The most damaging aspect of abuse is the trauma to our hearts and souls from being betrayed by the people that we love and trust.” -quoteideas.com

One test of trust is revealing your kryptonite weakness to another, and watching how they react. Either they protect and guard you against it or they quickly use it to hurt you. That’s when you know that you are dealing with someone who is very broken.

You might have a person passionately exclaim, “You’re so honest and direct that it makes me feel so connected to you. I love you so much!” And then a few weeks later, that same person might say, “You’re so honest and direct that it makes me feel that you are intense and it freaks me out. I need space.”

These people damage trust not for what they say, which may or may not be true, and not because they are untrustworthy, per say, but because their own internal turmoil prevents them from being grounded and consistent. You can’t trust where you stand with them at any given moment. They are reactive, unsettled and can go to extremes in how they take in the world around them. Be kind to these people, for they need compassion, and because your kindness to others serves your highest self. Be kind to yourself by realizing these are not safe people with whom to place your trust; for you also deserve compassion.

“When I give you my time, I’m giving you a portion of my life that I will never get back. Please don’t make me regret it.”

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” – Pema Chödrön

Unfortunately, not all people who have known their own darkness have the courage or ability to be present with it, so they certainly won’t be able to be present with yours. This is why it’s so important to find equals when building trust in friendship. If someone is not your equal, they cannot show up for you in the way you show up for them. It’s no one’s fault, although they may lash out at you as a way of surviving their own inner self-recrimination. There is nothing you can do but return to your center of peace. Say a prayer for them and then move on to the business of caring for yourself.

There are whole and loving people who will make you feel so good when they come into your life, that you will feel like opening your heart up to trusting the entire world. Then there are those who are cracked with sharp edges who will come into your life and cause so much heartache that you will never feel like trusting anyone again.

If this were a Hallmark card, the next line would be, “Trust anyway.” But it’s not. This is your mother speaking. I’m coming to you from the perspective of wanting to protect you from having your trust betrayed. When it comes to trust, or most anything in life, when in doubt, don’t.

Find a trustworthy therapist, a loyal friend and a family member who loves you unconditionally and trust only these people, implicitly. With everyone else: trust to varying degrees and take caution. Trusting the wrong person is not worth the temporary false bond. Trusting someone who never had the capacity to be trustworthy in the first place is a hard and painful experience that I wish I could spare you.

“Love all,

Trust a few.

Do wrong to none.”

I originally wrote this piece for a now defunct online magazine back when you were just a baby. I was still in an oxytocin haze filled with love for you and the entire world every time I nursed and released those feel good hormones. I feel as if I have lived through a few world wars since then. I’m covered in battle scars hidden only by those who are blind. The way I see the world now is a little different. It’s still bright and beautiful but with the day comes the night and I no longer focus on one over the other.

I still believe that life is an incredible journey, that most people are basically good and that kindness may be the most important virtue of all, to others as well as yourself. But I’ve learned more about the ego than ever before and those three little letters e.g.o. can kill love, truth, kindness and trust faster than anything else in its path.

I was just a teenager when I started studying Buddhism and ego. I had an idealistic belief that the deeply ingrained survival mechanisms of ego that caused separation and made people hurtful, could be softened by love and time, essentially: maturity. I was mistaken. Unless people are actively engaged, on a regular and diligent basis, on ego awareness, the ego only grows more and more obstinate. I have watched certain elderly people revert back to children and I have seen others grow with grace, wisdom, depth, and enlightenment. I believe that much of the work of the soul, is work with the ego which begins with love. Yet, there is no love without truth and truth is a kind of mirror that most people do not want to gaze into.

For all of my life I was told by family, teachers and peers that I was special and an exception, especially in regard to intuition and how open and honest I am. I didn’t particularly like this. It felt like it went against my belief that we are one. I didn’t want to see myself as separate from anyone else and to me, ”special” meant “separate.” I didn’t want to believe that I was special because that felt like being told, “Because of this, you will always be alone.” I replaced the words in my mind. When someone called me special, I transposed it to: “different.” When someone said that my intuition was a gift, I transposed it to: “an ability.”

This served me in some ways, for I never saw myself as above anyone and I never saw myself below anyone. It hurt me in other ways because I expected people to be more than they could, I expected them to have the capacity to love as deeply as I do. I love most everyone as if they were a child or sibling: wholly, unconditionally and affectionately. I like to call my friends: beautiful, gorgeous, or my luv, because that is how I see them. It’s a good detector of who is capable of self-love and who isn’t. The more love you give someone who only has a shallow, narcissistic self-love and has yet to learn how to love themselves unconditionally, the less they will be able to tolerate your sincere love. It overwhelms them. Deep inside on some unconscious level, there might be this thought, “If they love me, something must be wrong with them.” Eventually they will attack you because you are threatening their illusion of reality and denial of the truth.

My darling daughter, never place all your bets on the “potential” for anything. Do not become friends with someone for the potential you see in them to love themselves, do not fall in love with a man for his potential. Do not take a job for its potential (take the job for what it is in the moment), Do not buy a home for it’s potential unless you are willing to do all the work to discover both the beauty that it might become and the unknown pitfalls that you might discover. Engaging with anyone or anything based on potential, is engaging with a dream that may or may not come true. Instead, meet people, places and opportunities, right where they are.

We are empaths and intuitives and people open up to us and trust us almost immediately. We show up open and accessible and that makes others feel safe to do the same, as much as they are capable of doing. This gives us the false impression that because they can trust us that we too can trust them. People can be trust worthy but only insofar as they have come to know themselves.

“You cannot make everyone think and feel as deeply as you do. This is your tragedy, Because you understand them, But they do not understand you.” –Daniel  Saint

There is a saying, “You can only meet people as deeply as they have met themselves.” This may be your best measuring stick as to whom to trust and to what degree. Trust others as deeply as they have come, not to trust themselves, but to face the truth in themselves. This is where the real struggle begins because few people are brave enough to see their truth and either accept it or transform it.

We live in a world that supports manufacturing lies from the most banal of wearing makeup, and heels to taking selfies in the best possible lighting and angles. People plaster Facebook with all their fun and exciting brag worthy experiences while keeping their struggles and challenges behind closed doors. They paint a false reality to depict their life. They convince themselves that they are the attractive selfie, not the imperfect reflection in the mirror. That they are the one smiling in a vacation photo, not the one isolating from pain. Their lives are no more real than sets and scenery in a play. Real is wholeness. It’s not hiding your fears but sharing them and illuminating them. It’s not denying the challenges, it’s learning to make poetry from the painful truths of reality in addition to celebrating the joys. An authentic person is a whole person.

Never water down who you are to meet someone else’s tastes and comfort level. Be you, wholly, completely, fully. Be as deep and passionate as you want or need to be. Look who I met being fully me: your father and look what that led to: beautiful, amazing YOU! Being my fullest, most whole and complete, true-to-me, authentic self is what led to me performing at Madison Square Garden, it’s what brought me my most fulfilling relationships and my truest friends.

“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.”- unknown

“I finally know the difference between pleasing and loving, obeying and respecting. It has taken me so many years to be okay with being different, and with being this alive, this intense.”

-Eve Ensler, I am an Emotional Creature

You are being homeschooled. You may be criticized for being different. Mean girls might call you weird, crazy or intense. Wear those labels like the badges of honor that they are. Weird means interesting. Crazy is unique. Intense is passionate. As our friend Chips says, “Intensity is what makes things extraordinary.”

Never deny or defend that which you are just because someone else acts like who you are is something you need to apologize for. People who do that have issues with fear, safety, and control. They can’t see all of you because they can’t see all of themselves. Let them be who they are: shadows of themselves and you be who you are: a beacon of complete light and love.

When you make yourself less than in order to make someone else comfortable, you. will. always. lose. No one, no thing, is ever worth being less than you are.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel uncomfortable around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”-Marianne Williamson

Be true to you. Be kind to you. Trust in you. When you start with yourself, you are including everyone else.

Always remember how very proud I am of you and how much I love you!

Mommy

 

(Quotes are given credit whenever credit can be found. Sometimes they are from internet memes, fortune cookies, or random discoveries.)