What you’re looking for.

“I hope you find what you’re looking for” was inscribed inside one of my goodbye cards from a very good friend a few years my senior. I was 19 years old moving from the great Northwest to sunny Florida. At the time this note left a bad taste in my mouth. Someone who had ‘gone looking for themselves’ I perceived as flawed from my upbringing. I don’t know if my perception was accurate or not, but either way, I was now offended. I’m not looking for anything! I thought to myself, as if exploring this world was in any way something to be ashamed of. I told my family that all I was looking for was an adventure. Little did I know I would find so much more…

I found a land without hills or mountains; with tropical flowers, sea breezes and dolphins swimming in the sea.

I found that my dog is an excellent road-tripper and my very best friend.

I found that I equally love snowboarding the Tahoe mountaintops, and swimming the warm Gulf of Mexico.

I found that I am interested in becoming a pilot.

I found that my interests outweigh my current resources… and this spurs me to continue living and loving with abundance.

I found that the gray, overcast sky makes me sleepy, and the sun helps me to thrive.

I found that I LOVE rich coffee, good wine, and fresh healthy food.

I found that if I had to choose, I choose to live in the city. The energy is vibrant and contagious.

I found new eyes with which to see my hometown and the way life is lived there.

I found that kindness can take you far.

I found that when the chips are down, good people will come through for me and I will rise to the occasion, no matter what.

I found that humans are humans. All of us have some good and some bad. Having boundaries is equally important to loving others well.

I found I am able to put myself out there and reap the benefits of vulnerability.

I found that love endures, and living unafraid is the way for me.

I found that I am unashamed.

So, go!

Go and find all of the things you’re not looking for.

What I would tell my twenty-year-old self:

1. Beware of the many young boys disguising themselves as grown men. Their disguise may be extravagant; fancy cars, expensive homes, smooth words. These boys will be experts in many things, but sacrifice, selflessness and perseverance will likely not be in their repertoire.

2. Many will desire you. Some will value you. Your positive spirit is attractive. It is your responsibility to discern between the people who are infatuated with the idea of you, and the ones who treasure your soul. Many will want you for what you can offer them. A select few will value your being as a whole. Guard your heart.

3. Listen to your intuition when it does not trust a person or situation. Be selective in who you choose to surround yourself with. Their norms will eventually become yours and before you know it, this is what your soul will identify as familiar and you will be self-sabotaging your life with the very people you chose to see on the daily.

4. Rise above the pack mentality. Seek advice from trusted sources. You do not need to be in the company of others to be fulfilled. Choose wellness. Choose activities that cultivate joy and peace. Honor the lessons you’ve learned by doing it differently next time.

5. You are responsible for your own happiness. You are the creator of your baseline. In triumph and defeat, no one else has the ability to control your response. Choose a partner who supports you in success and failure and who will not abandon you, or worse yet, destroy what you are building. But should this happen, choose the path of love and healing. Rebuild as many times as necessary. Grow. Love. Endure. Love yourself well and you will set the bar for how your lover will love you.

6. Ask for discernment and wisdom, and selectively choose your path. Ultimately, you must live with the consequences of your decisions. Do not choose based on rebellion or conformity according to external influence. Let go of shame. We are all doing the best we can, based on our own experiences. Many will claim to know the answers one way or another and you will come to find that we are all just humans, doing our best to interpret the information we’ve gathered through our own experience in a specific context. Do not burden yourself with the wisdom of a single person. No matter how wise, it is just a single person. Communication is often troublesome. Seek wellness and wisdom and do not leave a wake of destruction for others to clean up after you.

7. Don’t take yourself too seriously. While you strive to grow and learn, remember that you are one blink in the vast span of time. All of humanity is experiencing their own trials, rising and falling. Do the best you can while maintaining a joyful disposition.

Defiance

defiance

noun

  1. open or bold resistance to or disregard for authority or to any opposing force
  2. a challenging attitude or behavior

 

I have been harboring a spirit of defiance for quite sometime. The realization of its existence and intensity in my life recently came to light. It was a quiet, gentle unveiling. I attribute the peaceful discovery to space created by silent meditation. The irony was after meditating I felt slightly unsettled, as my mind did not seem to ever reach a point of stillness. Then the following morning, a peaceful clarity of honest self-awareness appeared, accompanied by a decision to put the spirit of unrighteous defiance to rest.

This spirit in me has been manifesting itself through personal relationships and other general social interactions. Like that of many wires coming from a computer tower connecting to the power source, I began following this spirit back through time, attempting to locate the source to identify where this began and when exactly it became so out of hand.

I have always been strong, and bold in terms of standing up for what is right. I did not care if others agreed or if it was “popular” to hold my perspective. At some point, (likely in my teenage years), I began using this strength to my personal advantage, to fight, for not only things that were righteous, but also for anything I wanted, felt, or thought at the present moment.

Intelligence combined with stubborn boldness allowed me to plow through any conversation with anyone. I was not compelled to keep a relationship/job position if I didn’t want to because I know how to also be kind, joyful, and hard working. Defiance is the shadow-side of my bold personality. While there are moments that stand out clearly as my strong personality blessing others; doing or saying something on behalf of another person who cannot do or say it for his or herself; there are also moments that I have used this attribute for my own selfish desires, or rebellion.

Part of my defiance began when I realized that religion was at times being misused to oppress, control and instill fear in people. I disagree with this fear-based method of compelling people to conform so I began questioning many things, out loud, and eventually got to the point where I trusted very few and disregarded most insight offered by another. I take responsibility for surrounding myself with people who were untrustworthy. I have reached a crossroads in that regard.

Rebellion also flourished in me when authority figures tried to exert power “because they said so”. This highly offended my intelligence and I felt quite insulted as I believed I deserved the respect of some involvement of certain decisions that directly affected me.

Defiance naturally flourished considering the nature of my, outgoing personality attracting many types of people to “befriend” me. I can join a room and get along with just about anyone. This was a blessing and a curse. Many people enjoy me for who I am, and many more enjoy me for who I can be for them. By not distinguishing this difference earlier in life, I exposed myself to the users and abusers, manipulators and danger. Defiance became a survival mechanism; a coping skill.

As I heal from the bumps and bruises life has brought along the way, I realize that I am in a safe place that I have worked very hard to come to. I am not forced to hang out with unhealthy people. With maturity comes self-control, respect for others, and connectedness with healthy, valuable habits. I no longer need to rebel against ‘the other’ because I am becoming more of myself. My genuine, authentic self; the ‘me’ God had in mind. As I continue to grow into my best self, I see miracles everyday and appreciate wonder in all things. I fill my time with the things and relationships that make me better and the striving ceases. Good night rebellious defiance. I am safe, your work here is done.

Operation Allergy-Meds

So as you know by now, I have a very loving pit bull who has been my baby her whole life. I found her litter in a newspaper ad (yes, like a real newspaper – olden-days style) and bought her for $100! Best $100 I’ve ever spent. And I would gladly pay ten times more to keep her; well, actually, I pretty much have! She was 7 weeks old when I brought her home and will be turning 9 years old in May. For the past 8+ years it has been an unending guessing game of trying to keep her away from allergens. She is allergic to so many things, and if she isn’t now, you better believe she will be later…. yep, she develops allergies to things, including her food. I am constantly trying to stay ahead of the curve by selecting foods with few by-products and rotating the main ingredients in her food. So far Lamb and Rice is what we end back at quite often and it seems to suit her system.

A few weeks ago we went hiking in Malibu and after returning home I noticed my pup scratching a lot. So I took a closer look, sure enough, fleas! Ew!! I can’t even remember the last time she had fleas. So I immediately gave her a bath and flea treatment. A week later I gave her another bath to make sure they were all gone and to help soothe her skin. It has now been another full week and she is STILL itching! There are no fleas, I cleaned my house completely, and I cannot figure out what the problem is. Who knows, she could be allergic to her shampoo, the flea medication, or maybe her skin is just still inflamed and is taking forever to heal. Either way – it was time to try and get the girl some relief! We walked to the local pharmacy to find some anti-itch/allergy meds. I got home only to realize I got children’s benadryl SYRUP. I’ve tried this one before (the last time I mistakenly bought syrup for her allergic reaction to something ELSE) and she will not eat ANYTHING with that nasty syrup. So we went back to the pharmacy early this morning before work and I correctly purchased the capsules. Now to figure out what to put them in so she’ll eat them. I stared at my bare pantry, and realized I had no bread or processed food that would be safe for her. I am lactose intolerant, so I was hoping my roommate had some cheese I could steal – nope. So I made a batch of scrambled eggs and a pot of quinoa. 2 trips to the store plus a cooked meal later, I stirred the ingredients together and added fake-butter hoping she would take this medication for her own good! She hesitated when seeing the quinoa, and then, in for the rescue came my roommates dog – crowding mine as she ate – so she hurried, scarfing down the food to be sure her dog-roomie doesn’t get any. Mission accomplished! Hopefully this helps my little miserable pup.

Love vs. fear

My philosophy summed up: do not live in fear. I have come to pay attention when making daily decisions… is this decision being made from a place of fear or a place of faith/empowerment? Transitioning to LA, I have been able to practice this often as I make many important (and some less important) decisions for my life. Am I accepting this position because I am afraid of not having money? Or not having another opportunity? Am I afraid of exploring new areas? There are countless reasons one could be afraid and make a decision based upon that fear. I attempt to be intentional about not giving fear power over my life. I choose to believe in Love, and what is good. I believe that I am His beloved, and upon me His favor rests. I choose to work hard and have faith in the right things coming along for me in the right timing. Why do I believe this? Good question. I suppose because I believe that I am loved and I have seen lives changed when others believe in love and learn to love themselves. I also believe that there is only one Truth. So if Love is truth, anything other than that is an illusion cast by doubt and fear.

As I have been getting really good at empowered decision making in many areas of my life, I realized today that I still am operating out of fear when it comes to one major aspect of life.

Love.

Ironic isn’t it? I am this champion of the power of love, preaching high and low about the power of love and loving oneself and yet, I still am afraid of romantic love. Granted, if you’ve been following my blog, you will know that I went through an intense breach of trust recently, so I do keep that in mind and I believe time is still bringing me healing from that. So overall I am not too hard on myself when it comes to this. Regardless of past experience, I believe in the beauty of true love. And to me that doesn’t fall in a box of “marriage” or a “life long relationship”. I don’t know the timespan or title, or that there is just one. Love can be a few seconds in one’s day to a lifelong commitment, from childhood til death.

Ultimately, love is a decision. It’s a decision each person makes many times per day, everyday, for the entire relationship. It’s a decision to not abandon your partner by committing an act that will sabotage the life you are working to build together. It is a mutual respect and adoration for the person; you give 100% of your energy and resources to help them be fulfilled in their purpose, and they do the same for you – not out of obligation, but because when you truly love someone sacrificing doesn’t feel like a loss, and even if it does, it is worth it because you are so sold out for that person and have their best interest at heart. The key to this is it is mutual, and each person is each bringing their very best to the table. Balance is key. Maintaing balance over a lifetime is what brings about the adventure. :)

I adore you…

The brilliant turquoise water sleeps calmly under our cabana in the tropics of Tahiti; it’s you, me and the sunset. The peace I feel when I’m with you is the most calming stillness. I’m at home in your loving arms. The connection, communication, and chemistry we share is divine. My heart flitters when I gaze into your eyes, unafraid to let you search mine. I am attracted to all of you; physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. Being with you is just as comfortable as being with me. Our adoration for each other makes our past relationships seem trivial. The love that we each thought we had with another pales in comparison to the deep-rooted commitment we share.

We take walks together and enjoy the small things. We adventure together throughout the world, crossing things off our bucket list. We are allowed to try and to fail because, no matter how many times we fail, we will never fail each other. When a love is so pure, the pricks hurt worse, and resolution brings the most satisfying comfort. You are strong in your convictions, gentle in your love, and protective of our family. You are not one who needs constant attention from others, and you live to do what is right by those whom you love and who love you. We are healthy and we encourage each other to be our best selves.

Oh my sweet, true love, I can only wonder who you may be. Time is working as we speak to mold us into the people who will be perfect for one another. I am in no hurry to rush you into my life, for the best things are worth waiting for. I promise you I will continue growing, believing in myself, and becoming the best person I can be for me, for you, and for our future family. I love you already and I will never settle for anything less than the love that we will share. I know you won’t settle either.

I adore you.

 

And sometimes life breaks your heart.

I read the text and time stopped.

My eardrums shattered from the sound of my heart beating desperately out of my chest. This can’t be real. This cannot be real.

My mind flashed back to the blissful moment when our eyes met for the first time, rendering you speechless as you attempted to ask my name. In an instant we began slipping into a love that was real; neither of us prepared. I loved you because you were funny, chivalrous, and you loved to spoil me. I loved you because you smiled affectionately at my flaws and always made me feel as though I was more than enough. In a world that objectifies and belittles women, to my love, I was enough.

You taught me how to snowboard after teaching yourself. We loved to try new things together and spend time; no matter what, if we were together, we were having fun; we were content. I never got sick of being with you, which is unheard of. I get sick of everyone. Being with you was just as good as being alone… and even better because you make me laugh. When we lived in Oregon and the rainy weather would send me into hibernation, I would skip class sleeping all day. You would then come to my apartment, pull my blinds open and organize my room (because you know clutter stresses me out), and then finally you would drag me out of bed (sometimes literally) and tell me we were going on a walk. You loved to surprise me with dates and gifts. Not only did you take pride in the gift but you took pride in the wrapping too – you were so decoratively inclined! You had the homemaker skills I didn’t want to have – like ironing. I would send my clothes home with you and you would bring them back crisp and ready for whatever occasion was approaching. We were best friends and our relationship never felt like work. It only took 6 weeks after moving in together for me to realize something was not right. Maybe I had been ignoring the red flags, or maybe I was busy with work and school. Either way, it all came crashing down, but the reason was unclear. I figured it was drugs, but I really had no idea. All I knew was that you were mean to me now; you had become someone I didn’t know and I was not going to be that girl who was dumb enough to think she could save you.

A year went by and I moved along on the outside. I finished school, moved away, started a new job, and even had another relationship. I never stopped wondering what really happened to us, to you.

One night I had a dream I was looking out of a living room window (from a house I’ve never been in) and I saw you drive by. Our eyes met and locked until you were out of sight. My heart dropped as I realized you were there and now you are gone. Then from behind the shrubs I see you had turned around and come back for me. You parked your truck and came walking up towards the door. I was so excited to see you! You were smiling from ear to ear, just as thrilled to see me. A sweet reunion.

Then I woke up.

I woke up so bummed that it was only a dream. I was so frustrated that I still was even THINKING of you! Why can’t I be over it already? After all you put me through, how can I still miss you?

Then, later that day, at a friends house watching football and boom – your name pops up on my phone – facebook message! My dream was a premonition of sorts and you were reaching out to me to explain what happened a year prior. I gave you my new phone number and hearing your voice, I cried in disbelief; you explained that you had gotten involved in drugs and it took you a while but you chose to get help and you were now clean and sober. So it wasn’t all in my head. The clarity was so refreshing. Finally I could put the pieces together and it made some sense.

You came to visit me, I went to visit you, and eventually we moved in together. We picked up where we left off. Snowboarding. Exploring new music. Watching Pixar movies and every episode of Dr. Phil on youtube. We went on bicycle adventures and took walks. We went dancing and played games. We were so happy. I was sure that this was it. I had my best friend back. You were happy too. So happy that I was sure nothing could tear us apart.

Then I read the text message. You handed me the phone and tried to grab it back before I could finish reading: “Come on man, I don’t wanna be sick” was all I needed to see.

What do you mean you don’t wanna be sick?! And who is this person I’ve never heard of before?

My heart sank. I knew in this moment what this meant. I wept. I wept as I mourned the end our journey together as partners. I wept for you. I wept for your family. And selfishly, I wept for myself. The man I loved and would never put in harms way had repeatedly chosen drugs over our relationship. Yes, addiction is an ugly, powerful force, but there were moments in which you were sober, and more than once, you made the choice to participate in some mind-altering activity instead of being sober. For us. For you. For me. I knew that I could never trust you again. I had been suspicious for a month now and you had an answer for every red flag I had asked about. I felt like a crazy person – but I wasn’t crazy. I was right! You were using again. We lived together, spent all of our time together, and we were HAPPY. And yet you still went back. Anger. Sorrow. Emptiness. I hyperventilated and you tried to assure me, “I can fix this!” It was too late. I knew that I could not live this life. Constantly wondering if every sign was a sign of betrayal. I didn’t want to be the paranoid girlfriend. I didn’t want to drug test you. I wanted to trust you. I could not build a life with someone who is willing to throw it away for a high. I was studying for the LSAT while you wasted away money, time, energy and your beautiful outgoing spirit on something that was killing you slowly.

My heart was not just broken; but deflated, lifeless. This was the lowest moment and I was shattered.

You tried to quit on your own, but the grip on you was too strong to overcome alone.

I am so proud of you for choosing to get help a second time. As we got in the car to make the 90 minute drive to the airport, we quoted Dr. Phil “Today’s gonna be a changing day in your life!” laughing, to keep from crying. We picked up my mom from her hotel and made the trip to the airport. We both hugged you and she told you she was proud of you. I held it together until getting back in the car where we both broke down watching you walk away, hearts aching.

My mom and I spent the remainder of her vacation together, and she soon returned back home. Our apartment had never felt so empty. I had never cried so much. Sometimes I cried until I was sure my eyes would fall out of my head. Sometimes I couldn’t cry, and I just slept. There were days I didn’t get out of bed, and I would think back to you pulling the blinds and dragging me outside.

This time I had my answers and this time it would be up to me to seek healthy closure and move on.

This was the beginning of a journey that I would not take back, even considering the immense pain that was involved. I never wanted our relationship to end. But sometimes life breaks our hearts and how we respond is what makes us who we are.

I soon began to love myself as if I were enough. The way I knew you loved me. Your battle with drugs had nothing to do with me, and I know this. I know you loved me more than you will ever be able to show me. And I hope you know that I loved you that much, too. I am most grateful for our time spent together, the beautiful memories I will always treasure. Many people who meet me see my positive outlook and sunshine smile and would assume I have never had hard times. I choose to live my life celebrating the good in spite of sadness.

And I will fondly remember our young, out of control love, for the joy it brought to both of us. This journey brought me further along on the path of empowerment. We have our souls in common and I am at peace knowing that we loved each other the best we could for the time we shared. We are now able to close a chapter and begin anew as you champion sobriety and I a new life in LA; we both champion for self-love. We are better able to love ourselves independently because of how we loved each other while we were together, and that is something to be truly grateful for.

Rumi Quote - Balance