My Season of Suffering

The season of suffering and being in an unhealthy place often brings out compassion, empathy, love, and understanding as we start entering new seasons.

I was in a dark, unhealthy place in my life for a long period. I was suffering from the grief of lost loved ones not only to the grave but also those that had left me. The ones that had left me were equally as painful and in some cases more painful than those I had lost to the grave. This opened up my abandonment wound from over 40 years ago. There are no words for my pain.

But as I started to breathe again, rise from my ashes of grief, as I started to fight for life because I knew I had a purpose, I realized so much. I realized what others may have experienced with grief and loss. I felt more compassion and empathy for those that had lost family and friends to the grave or that had been left.

We will never understand what it’s like to lose a child until we lose one. We cannot imagine what it’s like for a person we love to walk out of our life until we have someone we love to walk out on us. We cannot identify with abandonment until we have experienced it. We only know what we have experienced. Until then it’s all imaginable with compassion.

I’m thankful for my season of suffering. I appreciate that I hit the bottom to understand what I had in me. My dark place brought a teacher to teach me what others have experienced and to give me more compassion for humanity as they suffer with their pain and wounds.

The Bible says in Ephesians to “always give thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to our God and Father.” I know it’s easier said than done but we must know that our grief, pain, and season of suffering can shed light on not only our wounds but identify with others. And isn’t that what it’s all about, is to help each other by extending our hearts with love, empathy, and compassion?

Keep going and keep growing on the journey to the land of “Healed”.

Soul Food

My shrink used to tell me to make sure to get my soul food. It took me a while to figure out what feeds my soul but I believe I’ve arrived.

Soul food doesn’t feed the ego, it feeds the spirit, body, and mind. It’s those things that you inhale, that make you feel alive. It’s what you crave for your happiness. It’s what fulfills your peace and solitude.

Soul food just like our nutritional food is a necessity. We must have it to be happy and bring out our best. If we don’t get it then we can become emotionally exhausted and weary from not getting the nutrition we need.

Since buying my new home, I pinch myself daily because not only am I living my dream, I am getting so much soul food. I wake up in a state of bliss as I look around and say “ah this is mine.” And then I remember, there’s more to see. I quickly put my robe on and step outside to see the most gorgeous sunrise coming up parallel to my balcony.

Then I put my clothes and shoes on and go outside. As I cross the street and walk down a hill, I see it, the scene that makes me inhale and just stop and be in awe. The picture doesn’t justify the beauty but it’s all I can share with you for now. That’s fog on a pond, sitting on a golf course that looks like a painting. It stops me in my tracks as I inhale the beauty.

I continue to feed my soul as I walk almost 3 miles to explore the green space in the city. And the dessert of soul food is staying in a thankful space. Staying grateful for all of it. Yes even when the teacher appears to teach us something. We refer to them as bad days. Sometimes those bad days that can turn into seasons of suffering are there to teach us, protect us, and at the very least make us appreciate the good days and good seasons.

I’m sharing this today because I pray and encourage you to find your soul food. And if you have already identified it, I applaud you for knowing what feeds your soul. We know it’s less about what the eye sees and more about what our soul feels.

Seeing is Believing

“You’ve got to be seen to be believed.” – a quote the queen said in regards to dressing in bright colors. There’s a lot of truth in that. Some people think if they cannot see it that it does not exist but even on cloudy days the sun is still there.

If only we could believe that it’s there even though we don’t see it. We believe as a child that the tooth fairy is there even though we don’t see them. But why do we stop believing in what we cannot see? Maybe because someone said “Prove it!” and we got shaken by the challenge that we couldn’t prove it and just stopped believing.

Believing, trusting, and having faith are all cousins to doors opening for us. It is sometimes those cousins that save us too. If Noah didn’t believe in God, trust that the flood was coming, and have faith that he and his family would be saved then he would’ve never built the ark.

And here’s the thing, you do not have to prove to anybody what you believe. It doesn’t matter how crazy it looks or sounds. If that is your belief, core values, or instinct then that’s all that matters. Everyone’s path looks different. We each have our journey and our assignment was not on a conference call.

I believe there are folks out there right now, possibly reading this that want to be more and do more but are scared that nobody will believe in them. The fear of failure or not knowing how to explain the mission is real. If you believe that’s what you are supposed to do then go for it. Jump and don’t be afraid to fall. So what if you do, the guy next to you is too scared to try their mission. If you wanna be believed then be seen.

From Loving to Leaving

Not everyone will like or love this version of you. You will notice folks get quieter when you start setting boundaries and living life for you. Phone calls and visits get further apart and eventually, communication just stops. They’ve gone from loving you to liking you to leaving you because you started standing up for you.

I evaluate my relationships from time to time, basically when I have time. Many have fallen out of my life in the last 2 years because I stopped giving. I stopped giving myself, my time, my money, and my life to them. I started saying things like, “the road travels both ways, come see me.” They didn’t. I started saying, “the phone rings both ways, call me.” They never called me. The 80/20 stopped. I stopped giving 80 for them to only consistently give 20.

The way my life is going, it’s moving pretty fast. Today I may be driving a Toyota and tomorrow I may be driving a Rolls Royce. When you get on your path of high vibration and you know that it’s your time and season of return from losses, nothing surprises you. The only ones surprised are the ones you lose.

And all that has happened to me and for me is all because of one thing, I stopped putting my energy into others and started putting it into me and protecting my boundaries. It’s not exclusive to me, it’s for you and everyone. All we gotta do is just wake up every day and focus on ourselves. We are not here to make others comfortable or happy.

And if you believe you need that one person or anyone to feel fulfilled, well you don’t. Trust me on that one. You got you and that’s all you need. Take care and love you and watch what happens.

Your Voice, Your Boundaries

Keeping our mouths shut to keep the peace is not always keeping the peace. It may keep peace on the surface but on our insides, our well-being is not at peace. Choose your battles wisely but don’t stay silent to make others comfortable. Your boundaries are your priority!

I had a neighbor introduce me to another neighbor the other day. We all walked together one morning this week. As we walked we talked about a multitude of things. I noticed the new neighbor would interrupt me when I spoke and wouldn’t let me finish my thought.

The 3rd time she did it, I kept talking and then I said, “I wasn’t finished talking. Before you interrupted me I was going to finish my sentence with this…” and I continued my thought. I told her in the kindest tone I could find that she was rude and inconsiderate and she felt her words were more important than mine because she talked over me.

The old version of me would’ve kept my mouth shut to make peace with the new neighbor but this new version of me no longer bites my tongue to keep others comfortable.

After speaking up and protecting my boundaries, she felt uncomfortable enough that she cut her walk short with us. I made no apologies for standing firm. Interrupting folks is just plain rude. It’s a character flaw that says your words are more important than others. Trying to finish people’s thoughts or sentences because you’re too impatient to wait is also an issue.

Just a reminder that you have the right and the ability to protect your boundaries. Respect has lost its way in our society but that doesn’t mean you’ve lost your self-respect. Stand firm and deeply planted but pick your battles wisely. For it is the palms that sway that survive the storms. Not the Oaks that break and splinter when the wind blows.

Above All Else

I’ve heard this scripture since I was a child. I didn’t learn it in public school, I didn’t learn it from my parents, or my sibling. I suppose I learned it in Sunday school or from a pulpit but wouldn’t it be wonderful to learn it in public school, maybe have a class on it? Things society does not teach us. Because haven’t we all had our hearts broken, hurt, stepped on, crushed?

I’ve had my share of heartaches and heartbreaks. Opening our hearts allows for vulnerabilities. Love cannot exist unless we are vulnerable but how can we be vulnerable and guard our hearts at the same time?

I believe that once we know the red flags 🚩, once we’ve had our hearts broken by those that are toxic, it is our job to guard them. The scripture says “Above all else”, the boldness and strength of those words are as loud as thunder. That means let nothing come between you and your heart.

Once we know who someone is, believe them! Quit making excuses for their behavior. Stop trying to help them. If they want help, they’ll seek it. If they want help from you, they’ll ask you and apply it to their life, not just talk about it. Healing is their responsibility and nobody takes the step of getting better until THEY are ready.

Our hearts are our temples. It is why certain religions adopt the doctrine of not eating meat or swine because it’s unhealthy for our hearts. It’s why Christians believe that it’s where God lives. It’s why there are disclosures on cigarettes, vaping, and tobacco products because it’s toxic to our hearts. Think about it, it’s the most important organ in our body.

I pray that we have the wisdom to know who has bad intentions to hurt our hearts. I pray we have ears to hear and eyes to see the toxic red flags that bring on heartbreak. I pray we can follow our instinct and give thanks for all things that detoured us from heartbreaks. I pray that we guard our hearts above all else.

The Higher Power

I wanna talk to the believers. Not to the Christians, not to the church, but to anyone who believes there is a “Universe”, a “Higher Power” a God that knows all, sees all, and empowers us through our gratefulness and the desires of our heart. Manifestations are real through our prayers, faith, and trust.

One of the first things I learned from my shrink was “the hows are not up to me”. I am an over-analyzer and I want to see the other side of the tunnel before going through it. I recognize that’s from my trauma of being hurt, let down, and broken-hearted but as long as I know it and understand it I’m on my healing path.

When we are not able to see the top of the staircase, take the first step anyway, when we can’t see the other side of the tunnel, go through the tunnel anyway. We don’t always know how, when or what is going to be done but that cannot stop us. I know there is never a door opened that is not pushed, pulled or the door handle turned.

Just as the bad is always there and we can’t see it until we can see it, so is good. The good things are there waiting for us, the promotion, the job, the house, the spouse, the car, and the gifts are all always there but we are not always able to see them. The timing is everything! If things come too soon we may not be ready for it. If Starbucks had emerged during The Depression then it wouldn’t have made it because nobody would’ve paid $7 for a cup of coffee.

When it is time, it will come. In the meantime we gotta keep pushing, pulling, and turning door knobs. Keep on praying, giving thanks, and trusting. The only way we lose is by quitting. We have survived all of our past for a reason and a purpose. Don’t give up! Keep on keeping on for you are not alone.

Support, Safe & Empowered

I didn’t write that quote but if I did I would change it to “Healing is being supported which results in feeling safe and empowered.”

I’ve been thinking and meditating a lot on the word support. It’s the word that keeps coming up in my mind because I believe it’s the biggest game-changer when it comes to healing. Knowing you have support is life-changing. It’s what keeps therapists in business. It’s what keeps marriages together and what makes people successful.

But support is a two-way street, it has to be given but it also has to be welcomed. The person needing support has to allow it. Trauma survivors have a difficult time letting their guard down, allowing vulnerability, and letting anyone support them. When you are hyper-independent due to not being supported as a child, always being let down, and guarding your heart for fear of heartbreak you will tell everyone “no” when you want to say “yes”.

And choosing to support someone is not for the faint of heart. Don’t say you’ll jump in the river with the person that needs support and swim across but halfway there you stop swimming because you are tired. Folks that need support need to know that you can swim all the way and you can stay afloat with them no matter what happens. Leaving them only makes the trauma worse and their fear greater.

As I have written, my life has completely changed in 2 years. A big reason is due to having supporters that I have allowed to support me. If you have real supporters in your life, hang on to them. They are lifeguards and they won’t let you drown. Because they support you, you are feeling safe and empowered and swimming to the land of healing.

Awakening Anger

When I had my awakening a year ago, I did not identify with this quote. I was like a newborn baby just trying to grasp my mind around all the things around me. Everyone and everything around me had been there the entire time but I could not see it.

It didn’t take long to see it clearly and once I did I was angry. I’ve read the underlying tones of anger in my blog stories. Of course, I’m angry because I realized those that took advantage of my wind. The wind gets under the wings of those who cannot fly high and need a wind supply. That was me!

I was making others comfortable while I was uncomfortable. My fault? Yes but like everyone I only knew what I had experienced and I hadn’t experienced any different. I was groomed and conditioned to be the wind from birth. I did not know that if I stopped putting so much energy into others and stopped being the wind to others inevitably I would fly high myself.

I know now! Once you see it you can not unsee it and I see it every single day and think “Wow! I could’ve, I should’ve, I would’ve” but the appreciation for the teacher and the learning experience may not even be there. If I had not done what I did and believed I was only here to be wind for others then my gratitude for my awakening would look different.

Waking up angry for being better to those than you are to yourself is a waste. Just thank God you woke up and woke up on this side of the dirt before it was too late and didn’t wake up at all.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I’m rejoicing every day in the new jewels in my crown, I’m praying every day to be better and stronger, and I’m thankful for all of it. For all that took advantage, I say, “thank you for showing me who I don’t want to be.” For all that stood by me and the angels on this earth, I say, “thank you for loving me through thick and thin and for better or worse.” And thank you God for having a will over my life that I could not see.

The Golden Ticket

I grew up about 20 minutes north of Nashville TN in a town called Hendersonville. I spent the majority of my life in that town. Graduated from there and then after a few moves returned to raise my son there. If you grew up in a small town like me then you understand that growing up in a small town, you know at least 50 percent of the population, you know generations of families, you could be a tour guide for the town and all that surrounds you is familiar.

When I moved to Georgia in 2014, many people thought I’d lost my mind. Many placed bets that I’d return to my hometown or Nashville. Here’s what they did not understand, my deep hole of peace, solitude, and discovering me was what I needed in my life and it looked different from theirs. Georgia was my escape from my triggers from my trauma, it was my golden ticket.

It’s another reason why we are not to judge. We don’t know what people go through. We don’t know their triggers, trauma, dreams what brings them peace, and solitude, and what their path looks like. We barely know ourselves much less others.

The path to peace and solitude looks different for every person. It could be a room, a garden, the beach, the mountains, a big city, a new town, sitting in your car for hours, or going to the thrift store. The list is endless but the point is it doesn’t matter what it looks like to others if it brings you solitude. Having solitude and peace is the golden ticket in life. It’s why folks work 51 weeks a year to take 1 week of vacation. Proof that we will do anything to get what we need.

Being in a place that brings us peace and solitude is like winning the lottery. Sometimes it’s an opportunity that only comes once in a lifetime. It’s why I call it the golden ticket. Your heart has a desire and your soul needs food and only you know what that is and what it looks like. I encourage you to do you and find your golden ticket to your path of solitude and peace.