Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Clean in Pearls ...

Once a person told me there are three places you spend the most time – your job, your car, and your bed – so make them all incredible, enjoyable, and comfortable. This person however forgot to mention the fourth place – the one you spend all of your time, the key intricate part of every molecule of existence – yourself.

There is no vintage resell shop to customize the accessories needed to shine, so when you are unhappy with yourself, with your life, with your place in the here and now – where do you turn? Some of us look for comfort in the arms of another – be it a stranger or a best friend. Others turn to the materialistic forms such as retail therapy. Some are so bold as to jump on a plane, naïve to think the problems are not part of the carryon luggage. Many turn to their vices – and as much indulgence as they can manage to numb the pain.

Personally I have done all of the above, in many doses, in no particular order. It took me a long time though to admit that although sitting with your best friend is soothing, it provides no answers to whom you are and where you are heading. Sitting on a suite balcony overlooking the ocean is a breathtaking view, but it lacks rejoinder on how to mend. Cosmopolitans are delicious and champagne Thursdays are timeless, but more than the bottle is left empty when the tab arrives to be paid.

All of those remedies, and many others, can a part of the process, but without your inner effort, you will not truly find the answers you are in search for. You must be open to receive – willing to heal – and ready to discover.

Sunday morning at 1:43 and I cannot sleep. Too tired to poor a cocktail, too broke to hop on a plane, too late for retail, and too "not wanting to explain" I don’t call a friend, I just lay here. Minor work is needed – adjustments really – a few strands of pearls and I would never know the difference that something felt out of sort. But tonight, as I type (wearing my pearls …) I find myself in familiar territory … solitary thinking … that is my true must have when I am searching for answers.

We extend ourselves in life in such chaotic fashion that we don’t take much time to give back to our inner spirit. The panic, the anxiety, the high levels of stress at times is too much to deal with, so we go into emotional repression. We don’t like to see our “messes”, and more so, we especially don’t like to allow others to view them. Until we are ready for spring cleaning, in the interim we tend to dust things under a rug, hide things in closets, and throw out our dirty plates instead of washing them. Then one morning we wake up and trip over the “clutter” and we are forced to make a decision – either clean it up or move. Well, in this economic climate, we would never get a dime for our personal real estate so we must grab the mob and broom and put in some elbow work.

In that aspect, we conceive the notion that if we stay emotionally repressed, numb if you will, we are not only repressing the bad, but we are blocking the experience of joy. Eventually, if we want to live in a clean mind, heart, and soul, we must take time to purge through the confusion and untidiness. If we are inclined to move back, too afraid of the time, energy, and application it will take to truly make way for a new life, then in that moment we must forage and push even harder to move forward.

Nothing worth having comes easy, nothing worth having comes without some sort of fight, nothing worth having comes without some time devoted to making it happen … and the same mentality exists in matters of the soul. If it appeals to your thoughts, then think your way through. If it appeals to your heart, then feel your way through. If it appeals to your life, then live your way through. Whatever the demand of appeal, don’t hide the mess any longer.

Deal. Mend. Heal. And in turn … move forward … refreshed, rejuvenated, centered and pristine. Give yourself the permission to take the needed remedy (or remedies) you need to clean out the closet of your mind … as often as needed … as long as it takes … as dirty of a mess it can be … You, and only you, live there … make it a place that is as incredible, enjoyable, and as comfortable as you can create.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Oay Vey, the Frustration

Let me start this week’s column by saying if you came here in search of inspiration and words of the “uplifting” nature, you may what to steer your eyes away and instead check out Tony Robbins webpage for the “enhance” you are in need of. This week’s column is one of pure frustration ...

Frustration such as the fact I am just now finding out that my beloved Carmel Apple Spice at the holy land of Starbucks, can be delivered to me sip-able! Instead of sitting there in the cup holder on my office desk for 16 minutes taunting me that if I was to enjoy its delicious flavor any sooner, I would indeed burn my tongue – every time, without bloody fail.

Frustration such as both Notre Damn, I mean Dame, and Georgetown throwing my entire bracket out of the b-ball court because I held such promise in both of them, that I placed each into the elite eight and final four rounds … thanks boys – way to be a team players. Jerks.

Frustration such as the guy on Hampton Ave this morning, whoever you may be – top of the morning to you for cutting me off and forcing me to put my lip-gloss on my eyelid in order to avoid wreck and havoc. Having my make up on before I leave the house will not work as an excuse here, for you sir should get a driver’s license and steer clear of my morning vanity session …

Frustration such as yesterday’s extremely gorgeous day that forced me out door’s to pick up lunch for the office, and made me sob as I came back in … only to alternate between watching the madness of march on ESPN through my office computer (shhh, don’t tell) and being a window cling trying to soak up the vitamin D – wishing the windows were able to be opened not for the fresh air, but for the pure indulgence to drop water balloons on the people frolicking outside on this sunny afternoon …

Frustration such as this weekend will be spent cooped up indoors, studying, and staring out into the gloom on this supposed first day of Spring … a day that once was the birthday of my beloved Grammie … how I would give anything for one of her hugs right now …

Frustration such as the impromptu happy hour that seemed to be continued at home … only the happy part to the hour was misleading, as I soon found myself disconcert – and we all know what that means – alcohol mixed with emotions = tears. Damn, it’s like science.

Frustration such as putting yourself out there in this world and it appears that your Achilles’ heel is being yourself. Just a person who through heartache and pain, the past has shown her the true importance of today – and as such, given the clarity to take pleasure in the rare moments, the promise of a new day – the possibilities – the mistakes to be had, to learn from, and the enjoyment of every moment spent giving, receiving, and being … apparently though that outlook on life intimidates and in turn makes you question your very belief of how you interact with people.

I speak of hope, optimism, belief, trust, faith – letting yourself be carefree and enjoy the true miracle of today. While that is all fine and great, it’s also all erroneous some days. You see some days you need to have up defense mechanisms locked and loaded, otherwise you will feel used and unjust, insignificant and without promise. That is where the real frustration takes a hold of you. Making you doubt yourself and what you have to offer – what you did offer and how its misinterpreted – what you should have done differently and what you should have never done at all. Making you feel like you shouldn’t be so …well … “you” … making you feel like you need to tone down your genuine nature, knock off the sincerity, and quit being nice. Because in the end, its not just the nice guys that finish last, it is also girls who really are a “catch”; and both have to feel as if holding back from being who they are is the only solution. Frustrating, isn’t it?

Frustration is not a great place to be. It will leave you wide awake at 1:43 in the morning confused. It will leave you restless and guarded. It will leave you with a piece of negative energy injected into your cerebellum, breading uncertainties, concern, and taking your focus. Everyone has flaws, but you should not feel like being open, honest, and sincere are abysmal traits to possess. You have to continue to be who you are, true to your inner spirit – despite the fact that it may indeed lead to other’s frustrations. You cannot let it question your personality traits and what you have to offer. That’s all you can ask of yourself – to never stop being true to yourself. As frustrating as it may be sometimes, you are who you are …
And …
It will leave you …
At times …
Feeling …
Frustrated.
And as frustrating as it might be to hear right now, those frustrations will in turn dissipate, and what is left is what you live with … so choose wisely and just let go of the rest.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Question: Do You Live With Passion?

I maintain a strong conviction that in order to live with truth and grace, you must do so with passion. Life is much more than a series of meaningless coincidences, calamities, and accidents; in fact, rather, it’s a tapestry of exquisite proceedings that culminate into an orchestra of life alerting moments – moments meant to be seized – moments meant to be had – moments meant to be reinforced with passion.

In aspects of ancient Greek philopsphy, the highest degree of mental fulfillment was noted to be found in the quest of pursuit to quench the satisfaction of one of our strongest urges as an individual – passion. Quoting one of my favorite movies, Serendipity, “Did you know that the Greeks did not write obituaries? They only asked one question after a man had passed: Did he have passion?” Passion is not well understood as a part of our cultural existence. Traditionally we admire the “Jones” instead of living closer to the truth, such as the Greeks – maybe, just maybe, they had it right when they questioned the cultivation of a person’s personal passion not of their tangible attainment. In our environment, people take it for granted as something that will “find its way into their lives” instead of the opportunity that it is; an opportunity that develops with purpose, and ease. Delight. Wonder. Intrigue. An opportunity that once manifested provides the greatest sense of vitality and commitment. Passion does not seek you out; rather it’s a personal discovery. All our great achievements begin with passion and dedication – letting the breath of life consume your being and allow you to consider the unique purpose destined for you alone. Without this generated manifestation to rise above our own inefficiencies, accomplishment is empty – hollow – easily obtained and little fulfillment once reached.

With that said, I turn the direction now to a guest writer this week. When I asked this person to submit his personal reflection, his response was this: Chrissy- Thank you for your invitation to write a post for Plan B. I know how passionate you are about it so it means a lot that you would ask me to be a part of it. Your passion, in fact, is what inspired me to write this post. I know that it doesn't really offer anything specifically from a man's perspective but it seemed relevant to the mood of the website. I hope you like it. – Matt

Like Matt? Try love. You summed up with conviction what each of us should feel each day, inspiring our direction of achievement, accomplishment, and to answer the question ourselves before its too late – did we live with Passion?

Pursue with Passion by M. Tidwell

Passion. It's a word we hear but rarely use. It's something we see and admire, but never pursue. Why? Is life really so ho- hum that we can't find anything to be passionate about? Are we so bold as to assume that we know and have seen so much that nothing in this world is worth putting the effort into achieving? There are 8,360,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 life sustaining, delicious water molecules in a glass of water. I think that's pretty amazing, but until this moment had never even considered such an idea. Out of the probably millions of cups of water that I've consumed in my lifetime, it had never occurred to me how spectacular a simple glass of water is. We walk by the magnificence of this world many times a day without as much as a second glance.
So what's the relevance? We walk through our lives the same way. Without appreciation. This life was not given to us to waste away in the 9-5 hustle simply acting as a cog in some multinational corporate machine. Now, that's not to say that you can't be passionate about your job. Of course you can. But the moral of the story is to be passionate about something. Be passionate about knitting, be passionate about feeding the world, be passionate about your children, your Church, your family, your friends. Whatever. But whatever you do, don't stay asleep. The world is here for the taking and all you have to do is find what you love and do it every day. I challenge you to pick up an old hobby. Do something you have never done before. Do something you never thought you could do. I promise you that it will change your life for the better, and maybe someone else's.

"If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived? Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen for you, to you and because of you."- T. Allen Armstrong

The Rise and Fall: Fortress Destruction

Some roads lead no where – but what if that corridor you traveled lead you to everywhere you have ever wanted to be?
In matters of the heart, emotions dominate. Twisted, tangled, the hurt can quickly transform into anger, anger into sadness, sadness into longing and so on … and so on … until not even champagne Thursdays seem to ease the pain. Why? Because in order to keep us grounded they must force us to deal in order to restore. Emotions equip us with the resources we need to comfort and soothe, mend and heal, gather strength, fight back, focus, and enlighten.

Construction from Pain
If you have experienced heartache before, then you may know of a universal architectural design that soon formulates in a mixture of the both conscious and unconscious in nature – more commonly referred to as “walls”. In many instances, these walls go up in hopes to give us time to process the emotions; hurt more than once though, and what was a temporary solution grows into a longer resolution and soon those walls cultivate even higher. Personally, I have a defense system commonly known as Fort Knox. Laugh all you will but its kept many of heartache at bay. Who wants those tears, and confusion? Pain and sadness? Not I said the girl sitting in her fort … protected … guarded … sheltered … and yet, alone. For years this fortress of solitude kept me safe, but it also kept me bottled and unaccompanied. The strive to be independent and strong is an evolved condition for survival, but it’s also a closed door to contentment. My walls were made in the form of bottled emotion, focusing on my loved ones instead of myself, giving to others in their time of need and pretending my needs did not exist, creating an agenda of “to-do” leaving no room for the opportunity of despondency to present itself. My emotions had become so jaded and cynical that I dared to give them merit; for if I did I had to speak of my true beliefs – such as the hopeless romantic in me, the believer in signs, the impossible wish of true bliss could be a reality. And if I spoke these true feelings, I would indeed myself break my own creation of defense – and be vulnerable …

What happened to the days of the past where we acted on emotions and allowed our heart to feel? To pursue? To enjoy the moments and not hide behind our citadel of fear, and apprehension? The phrase chivalry is dead only because we have given it significance and therefore power to dictate our present thoughts. In past times our grandparents and older acted on their feelings usually without hesitate and reluctance. To quote Johnny Depp in Public Enemy, “You would be in a hurry too if you were looking at what I was.” Now days if we go after what we want we tend to scare people; mostly ourselves. No longer is our happiness in the forefront – our quest for bliss at an end – instead we stay glued to the viscous cycle of confusion in hopes that one day we will be ready to venture out – take a risk – pursue our true wants without living in the doubt.

Fort Knox No Longer
What are you willing to loose in order to gain ever abundant bliss? Negativity, what-ifs, distrust, question, trepidation, apprehension … everything your walls are made of. Not to be sold on ebay or at the local thrift shop, but these traits are worth sacrificing even for the smallest amount of good. I have spoken a lot this past year regarding giving up our barriers, but most recently I have had the awakened moment when I knew my walls were finally down. The destruction was effortless, carefree, fascinating. The aftermath was liberating and enlightening; quitting the past and living in the moment gives you the power to wake up and stop missing out because of fear. The rational is that we miss the point of the present by being guarded and sheltered – by dwelling on the past and focusing on the future.

With my walls down, the whole hearted, unabashed truth is that I felt something unfamiliar this past week – an inner voice that whispered, “foolish girl” – but only for a brief moment when I thought the destruction of Fort Knox Estates was not worth every one of these mornings I wake up in the moment of today. There is more freedom in waiving the white flag of surrender in one sunrise of smiles and possibilities, than there was in years of protection. Despite uncertainty, I put down the wall of fortification, and somersaulted into bliss with no fear of the consequences – with zero hesitation. This time the “what if’ left me breathless and eager to risk … and risk I did. Putting out there your feelings makes you vulnerable, but you cannot hide from your feelings, you cannot let your pride or fear stand in your way of expression. If you do, you are the hindrance to your progress and as such, your own enemy on the battlefield of life – heartbreak warfare if you will.

Bus driver – move that bus …
… And reveal the new dwellings … no more walls, no fortress, no “escape” from life. The new creation you must feast your eyes upon is the open space around you – a space that provides the breeding ground to flourish in life – to live ready and willing to commit in your decisions; decisions that are based on what you are willing to live with instead of what you are willing to live without. Otherwise, the what-ifs in your life will consume you – question your very place in the here and now, and make you face the unchartered territory.

The White Flag of Surrender
With nothing but the open surroundings, your vision is clear. Now you can truly lift your eyes to the sun – a new day is upon you. What adventures are in store ... What experiences are to be had ... What moments you will cherish and remember … History is about to be made – The newspaper boys are already on the corner selling the morning addition – front page headliner:
Fort Knox has been defeated. Territory to be used for nourishing the once thought impossible – an epic piece of certain elation.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ordained: Your Destiny is but a Moment Away

Fate. Destiny. Serendipitous moments. Life as you know it is indeed the path intended for you to walk. That realization is a hard fact to be presented with, and an even harder fact to grasp the truth of its meaning. We clinch the blissful moments of incandescent elation and we battle the mêlée of challenge. The theatre of war acted out in our lives, the obstacles and trying days, find us crippled and beyond reason – we want to ignore the path of hurt by combating with anger and resentment. Surely these “mishaps” and “misfortunes” and “mistakes” cannot be the life intended for us. But let me assure you of an insight that can at times take a lifetime to realize … these are the moments, the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the exultation and the trying, that are indeed our destiny of life. All moments, despite our free will, are times in our life intended for us to lead, to live, to learn from. Sounds irrational don’t it? But that irrational feeling is only us trying to fight the fact that this is indeed fate playing out.

I have a theory on Déjà Vu – I believe it’s the universe’s subtle way of telling us we are in fact exactly where we are supposed to be. This comes to us at times when we doubt our path … our choices … our existence. Truth is, our lives were pre-ordained for us long before we were even a fragment of existence. Each moment, each encounter, each accomplishment, relationship, journey, and happenstance was intended purely for us to face, to endure, to live and most importantly – to give and take from. And even more importantly – to learn from.

When you truly grasp the concept that fate and destiny, despite our free will, is playing out exactly as the director (God) had written the script, it’s a beautiful force of treasure. No longer can we ignore the magnitude of providence, divine intervention if you will. Instead we have a chance, an opportunity to grow in its undertaking. Hurt and pain happen to us; our hearts get broken, our defense mechanisms penetrated, our barriers to our tears torn down – and we swear in that instant that it’s too much to handle, that life is not supposed to be this hard, that the reason, whatever the reason, must be inconsistent with our true paths of life. The bad news? Those times are going to come – more than once in our expedition. The good news? Those times are meant to play a purpose – a greater higher meaning that may take us years, decades, and even yes, a lifetime to understand and figure out.

Now that the news has been delivered, what do we do with the wisdom?

Live. Every moment of our ordained destiny, without fail, hesitation, or reservation. Our journey will have its life changing circumstances, of both extremes; our free will determines how we are able to cope and understand. Our free will allows us to question, to demand answers, to search for meaning – and to apply all of the research, knowledge, and truth to our lives in a manner that gives light on our darkest days and fireworks on our jollity. Does it mean we won’t throw ourselves a pity party here and there? Or scream why? Or demand a re-do? No. We will. More than once, more than a hundred times, we will question – wonder – lack answers and understanding.

But through our search we are delivered our journey – and that pursuit is the very one we were chosen to lead, to explore, to undertake. Within that undertaking we are being guided towards our soul mates, our best friends, our new additions of family, our laughter, our dancing, our toasting, our purpose … every step, will be without fail, one step closer to the next chapter in our lives – a chapter in our novel that was written way before the invention of words. It’s time to turn that page and see how the story turns out. The twists and turns, the mystery, will be intense – but hold on, keep reading, keep living every page and you will find that in the end your story, the one written for you and you alone, was a timeless classic you will only wish to read again. Only this time, with the wisdom that it all does come together with meaning and purpose – the ordained path of our life’s destiny is but moments away from unfolding.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wish the Impossible Things in Life

At the bottom of everything, it can seem hopeless. Surrounded by our worst thoughts and feelings, darkness and doubt we at times can feel defeated. Our first instincts can be in the direction of giving up; wash our hands of the “dirt”, put on a mask of pretend, and even try to convince ourselves that we are not living in denial.

What denial?
That this is the way it is and we cannot change the “attitude” of the circumstances.

And how does one in fact make that change possible?
Frankly, by not giving up. Refusing to go quietly into the night. And especially seeing that every day we have, is our day to dream - To wish what seems to be impossible things; for within those wishes our realities are made – our doubts are replaced with our hopes – our hopes inspire our salvation – our salvation provides moments of bliss – our moments of bliss fuel our belief – and our belief warrants our smile each morning … a smile that proves without fail, we will find a way to make it through even the most trying of days.

When I was a little girl, around the age of seven, I remember my aunt coming over one afternoon around my birthday. She was babysitting my sister and me. Not only did she come with her bubbly persona radiating, she came equipped with items children swoon over – puffy paint and t-shirts! And for us girlie girls, oh yes, glitter – lots and lots of glitter!!! We spent the afternoon designing these shirts; some her work, some mine – and you could tell the difference! (I was only seven, cut me a little slack on my artistic capabilities!).

From rainbows, and clouds, the alphabet and hearts, even a fake tattoo of “I love New Kids” on the sleeve, my shirt was a masterpiece that I wore proudly. That same day my aunt sat me down with a birthday present; I opened the package to meet and greet what I would later name, “Mr. Teddy”. Some thought he looked more like a deformed seal, but to me he was my Mr. Teddy. And as much as I cherished that shirt I made that day, I cherished him more. From that day onward we were inseparable. We explored nature together, ate together, brushed teeth together, snuggled at night together … He was my best friend and when I was seven I really needed a best friend. My aunt somehow knew that. I remember her words vividly as I opened that present, “I had one of him when I was young – and he never failed to always be there for me”.

Many years have passed since Mr. Teddy was snuggled in my arms. He has been in my son’s toy chest for the longest time, with his presence not known to my dear little one as he is too wrapped up in his “puppy doggie” for attention to be given to other stuffed creatures. This past week I was hit with grave and devastating news on a few accounts. Not knowing how I would tell my son I remained silent. Emotions bottled I went through my evening as if nothing was wrong. Somehow though my son knew I needed my best friend, as well as my one from the past … out of nowhere he comes into my room with Mr. Teddy in hand and asked, “Momma, who is this?” …

“Why that is Mr. Teddy love …” and so began the story he was so intrigued to hear about – how Mr. Teddy was an invaluable role in my childhood and continued to be a faucet of solitude.

“Just like my Puppy Doggie …”

“Yes my darling, just like that … to some they are just stuffed animals made by a place far away and sold here at stores like Target, but to us they are a part of who we are - just like you are a part of who I am- my best friend”

“… And just like you are my best friend Momma … well you and Nick D, Will, Dalton, my Godparents, Grace, Faith, Vinnie, Mr. Chris, Courtney, Ms. Sharon cause she gives me jelly beans …”

“I got it, I got it …. I share the best friend stature … dooly noted …”

“Although I have many best friends, I only have one Puppy Doggie and only one Momma … I love you … Can I have fruit snacks?”

Mr. Teddy has held my hand, soaked up my tears, and listened for nights on end when I was scared, alone, and sad. He also was tossed in the air, screamed at with delight, and heard my giggles when I over the moon with joy. With him I shared my hopes and dreams, aspirations and wishes; sat at my window sill and wished on that star light …. At 21 years, he is my oldest best friend. Granted he is made of stuffing and fake fur, with a nose that is falling off, but he gave me insight and wisdom on what it takes to be a great friend – share, listen, support, and love without hesitation, reservation, or fail. As I have grown, I am truly blessed to have some pretty intricate real life Mr. Teddies – each adding to my life in an unimaginable way and making me feel like my impossible wishes can be achieved.

In moments you feel you are defeated, the pressures of life seem trying, and the days of bitter cold grasp your source of air …. Don’t give up. Turn to the Mr. Teddy in your life and immerse yourself in hope, optimism, and light. For those special bonds shed light where darkness used to hover. If you doubt, don’t. You cannot replace your dreams of worth with dreams of doubt. Without dreaming, it’s over. That mess is all you have, and there is no room for entertaining the angelic, magnitude of life, of existence.

When you find yourself on your knees, tears streaming, breathe lost, yet in between the sobs the whisper of please, please, please... let me get what I want … let the worries fade ... let the miracles happen … let the dreams come true … Open that toy chest of life and hold on tight to a source of renewal and strength. A source that maintains your connection with one of the most precious roles in life – friendship – a role that connects the spirits of two, and gives connection to your inner self, soul, and merit. It gives you hope to the existence – something to believe in even when all else seems to have failed, hopeless, and lost. The impossible things you wish for are not so impossible with the comfort of your “Mr. Teddies” … with them, share your dreams and rest in salvation. Don’t give up. Believe in miracles. And always, always keep wishing … for the impossible cannot come true without but first a whisper of hope.