My Momma’s Hippie

I woke up one morning recently and realized I’m where I always wanted to be.  And you know what happened to the girl who got everything she ever wanted? She lived happily ever after.  Okay, I might have stolen that line from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but it’s the first thing that popped into my mind.  Willy (the Gene Wilder one, not Depp) smiling at Charlie as he broke through the ceiling of the factory and soared above the pain, suffering and despair below him (and now in his past).  People tell you to be careful what you wish for but I didn’t just wish myself happy.  I didn’t just start to think happy thoughts.  I dug deep, cracked open and blossomed.  While positive affirmations are a big help, being receptive to change and setting the intention to change is very, very different.  I had to shake off things that no longer served me and while it was hard, I did it.

I’ve been thinking about my mom a lot. I became the hippie I am today because of who she was. Her struggles, her anger and her fear were catalysts to make me stronger, gentler and more accepting of myself.  That was her greatest gift to me; to allow me to become who I am and accept who I am.  Right before she died I was trying to get her to eat something.  It was diced pears (the last thing she ate) and she’d have nothing to do with them after one bite.  She was looking at me with those tired, tired blue eyes.  I now think she was burning my soul into hers so she would recognize it again when she returned.  Teasingly I said, “You never thought you’d raise a hippie, did you?”  She quickly said, “No!” with almost a proclamation of disbelief.  She’d always complained about my food choices (damned hippie) and how I raised my kids. I was (and am!) too soft on them.  But I could see she was proud of who I’d become.  I hadn’t been a failure after all.  And most important, she knew I’d be okay.  I had no other option. She had given me all her strength and determination, leaving none for herself.

The past year has been one hell of a journey.  Loss, acceptance, new love (not only my partner, but most importantly, love for myself).  I have gone on a tremendous journey of self-discovery, tearing down all I thought I should be and welcoming the person I am.  So many lessons run through my mind, body and soul.  Some seemed to hit me like a brick this morning; others have been brewing and bubbling to the surface one understanding at a time.

  • The journey happens whether you like it or not.
  • And whether you notice or not.  The days tick by and you need to be happy as much as possible. I have bad days–they pass.  I have good days–they, too, pass.  Each day passes no matter what.
  • I try to be as happy as possible and take the sad days as temporary.  I am a lot more aware of why I’m unhappy and if I don’t, my years of journaling have allowed me to crack open and get to the heart of the matter.  Which is usually my fear of not being enough one way or another.
  • I have the resources to heal myself.  Journaling, Brene Brown books, a little Agatha Christie and most importantly, quality (and quantity) time on my mat.  Going within isn’t scary; it’s peace.
  • I’ve learned to work through the stories I tell myself and put them to rest.  Too often I create scenarios on why someone said something or didn’t say something, and bring myself into a dark place. All because of the stories I’ve created in my mind.  They are self-inflicted.  I used to think it was because I’m a writer, but it’s because I’m human.
  • I’ve had a very long journey to get here and while not every day is a success, fewer and fewer are spent in pain.
  • When I live my passions, I am at peace. Reading, yoga, nature, writing and research.  When I make time and space for these five elements, I am being true to myself and am able to truly feel comfort and solace.

I love who I’ve become and I’m proud as hell that I’ve allowed myself to become her.  Her strength, love, understanding and acceptance is beyond what I could have imagined a year ago.  I am at peace for the first time in many, many years.  I live true to my nature. I am happy!



Today, I choose Happiness!! I’m trying like hell, anyway

If Voltaire could choose to be happy, why am I having such a hard time?
If Voltaire could choose to be happy, why am I having such a hard time?

Some days are easier than others; you wake up, smile to the rising sun and choose to greet the day with a positive attitude. It’s a great day to have a great day!  Things could be worse! Count your blessings!   But some days it really, really takes a great deal of effort to smile, to forget the wrongs being done continually by inconsiderate people.  Some days are a lot more gray than others. It’s just the way of the world.

There is a fine line between shrugging things off “for the greater good” and putting your foot down and saying “enough is enough”.   When someone doesn’t bother to honor my feelings, or at least my professional dignity, it can be hard to feel part of a team; it makes me feel more like a cog in a very rusty wheel.  A wheel running willy-nilly down a steep hill.  I suppose every time you put yourself out there, take down the wall and allow yourself to get lost in something, there is the possibility that someone will hurt you.  Without the protection of thick skin, emotional distance and professionalism, it’s a lot easier to feel the pain of disappointment.

For me, passion is not an option; it’s who I am.  When I love something, become passionate about it, I cannot give less than 100%.  I put my Taurus head down and pour my heart and soul into it. It becomes part of my identity.  It’s not just a job, a relationship, a hobby.  I’m all or nothing and while I try not to, I take life very, very seriously.  This trait can obviously lead to a lot of disappointment, heartache and the desire to just give up completely.  Unfortunately, that’s not an option for me either.

It’s my own fault I suppose.  Over and over again I put my trust in people who do not deserve it. I give myself over to situations I cannot control and hope (with all my might) that this time, this time, things will be better.  And when they aren’t, when I still have the same results, I chastise myself for being naïve enough to believe again.  Because by then, it’s too late. I’ve already given myself over. Because I don’t know another way of being, I keep believing in people. I keep trying.

It’s a choice to be happy and it’s a hard, hard choice to make on days such as this. The biggest problem for me is that I want to make a difference.  I want to be more than just your average gal.  I’m smart, I’m loyal, I’m passionate and I give my all.  But for some reason, I’m incredibly obtuse when it comes to believing in the wrong people.  In believing that this time it will be different.  This isn’t my first heartbreak. This isn’t my first let down.  I’m 46.  I’d love to have the option of not caring, of not trying, but it’s just not who I am.  So, I take a deep breath, build another layer on my already thick skin, and put another brick in my wall.  I paste on a smile, try my very best to shine despite my pain, and keep on going.

While I can’t control how other people treat me, I do have control of how I treat myself.   Anger and pain is a poison that destroys my ability to be happy; destroys my ability to be the person I want to be.  So I’ll repeat slowly and often, “I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health”.  And sooner or later, I’ll believe it.

As sung by one of my favorites, Frank Sinatra (written by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields)

Pick Yourself Up

Now nothing’s impossible, I’ve found for when my chin is on the ground,
I pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again.
Don’t lose your confidence if you slip, be grateful for a pleasant trip,
And pick yourself up, dust off, start over again.
Work like a soul inspired until the battle of the day is won.
You may be sick and tired, but you be a man, my son.
Will you remember the famous men who have to fall to rise again,
So take a deep breath, pick yourself up, start all over again.
(musical interlude)
You gotta work like a soul inspired until the battle of the day is won.
You may be sick and tired, but you be a man, my son.
Will you remember the famous men who have to fall and then to rise again,
So take a deep breath, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.
(musical interlude)
Once again now:
Will you remember the famous men who have to fall and then rise again,
So take a deep breath, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.
That’s enough now.